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Religious Artifact Analysis Essay

The artifact that we intend to examine is the hit song “King Without a Crown” by the reggae music artist, Matisyahu. This music artist interests us because he is a popular performer who we have listened to voluntarily, with the particular song “King Without a Crown” ranking in the top 40 songs in America at one point in his career. Additionally, choosing a Matisyahu song is of interest to us as students at the University of Maryland because of Matisyahu’s live performance at UMD last year. Music is a particular form of rhetoric for artists to communicate ideas and inspire their listeners to adopt or understand belief systems. In the case of Matisyahu, the artist sings about his relationship to God and his religion, Judaism while making various references to religious and cultural aspects of his religion.

As an Orthodox Jew, Matisyahu provides his audience with music specifically tied to religious belief. However, Matisyahu’s music may be universally enjoyed by people of any religion, as demonstrated by his various appearances on MTV during the time that his single, “King Without a Crown”, was popularly played on the radio and bought on iTunes. Matisyahu is known for being a Jewish figure in the music industry who is able to incorporate his religious passion to musical talent in a quite unique manner, through the production of reggae songs. Although music is a central part of the Jewish religion, especially in the practice of Orthodox Judaism, reggae music sung in English is an unconventional means of musical expression compared to other types of Jewish music, which include klezmer or traditional singing of psalms in Hebrew. At first glance, we noticed the symbols that Matisyahu uses in his song to represent different experiences in life.

For example, Matisyahu incorporates a juxtaposition of darkness and light to demonstrate emotions and situations that are both positive (light) and negative (dark). Additionally, the artist uses much religious jargon, referring to God by the different names that Jewish people use to address a higher being. There is also an element of religion and/or God as a type of source that may protect and help people if they reach out and ask for such assistance, which is a fundamental Jewish belief. Matisyahu alludes to ideas of prayer, belief, and the Messiah, bringing important Jewish concepts to his song in an inspirational way of expressing his love for God. In studying this artifact, we will look at the lyrics of the song, “King Without a Crown” primarily to analyze the language that Matisyahu uses to communicate his ideas.

Additionally, we will draw upon the images used in this particular song’s music video to complement the lyrics that we study. In order to have a complete understanding of our text, we will research the biography of Matisyahu, including a focus on recent events, such as the scandal that occurred within the religious Jewish community when he shaved off his beard in the fall. Finally, to understand all of the Jewish references that Matisyahu makes in his song, we will research specific Jewish concepts, beliefs, and approaches to religious topics, such as the waiting for the Messiah to come from a Jewish lens.

Studying a Matisyahu song is worthwhile because this particular artist is one of the most visible and popular Jewish representatives and role models in the secular world of music production. It is important to note that Jewish people do not exclusively enjoy Matisyahu music. Rather, his songs have been popular throughout America, especially among reggae fans. Especially as Jews are a minority religion in nearly all countries in the world, Matisyahu is a positive representation of Judaism and the Jewish people to the world, working to deconstruct religious stereotypes and serve as an example for devout people of all religions to embrace both their passions and their religious beliefs.

Descriptive Analysis

Purpose- It’s about the power of trusting G-d in everyday life. also from a Jewish standpoint, it refers to the wait for a Messiah that will come; communicating his dedication to g-d. He is trying to convince his audience to follow that lifestyle Audience- His fans; mostly Jewish listeners now that he is not as famous anymore Controversial- Religious, some people do not share the same beliefs, minority religion, he is Orthodox and was affiliated with Chabbad at the time. He speaks about G-d and there are people who do not believe in G-d.

Rhetor’s (Matisyahu) Purpose: “King Without a Crown”

Following listening to Matisyahu’s “King Without a Crown” and reading its lyrics it seems as though he is referring to someone, use as a model representative of people in general that his targeted audience can relate to, who is lost spiritually and more specifically neglecting/ignoring the Torah. His identity with Chasidism is evident from even first glance at his everyday attire consisting of a dark hat, matching long dark suit and coupled with the Chasidism orthodox braided hair hanging down from either temple and long beard. When analyzing Matisyahu’s lyrics and his passionate performance of “King Without a Crown,” it is feasible to argue his ultimate purpose from a rhetorical standpoint is to advocate a more Chasidic expression of faith and encouraging more attention and adherence toward prayer and the Torah.

By calling his targeted audience (his fans) to reflect upon their daily lifestyle in contrast with the teachings of the Torah, he brings our attention toward our personal daily conduct and instills his audience members with feelings of personal accountability for each of our actions and the lives we choose to live. Ultimately the song, “King Without a Crown” is aimed at the nature of altering people’s perception of living a faith-bound righteous life in the eyes of G_d and calls for change in social action, more specifically, our everyday lifestyles and behaviors so that it emulates the Torah’s teachings. s exemplified by his lyrics such as:

You’re all that I have and you’re all that I need
Each and every day I pray to get to know your peace
Wanna be close to you, yes I’m so hungry
You’re like water for my soul when it gets thirsty
If you’re drowning in the waters and you can’t stay afloat Ask Hasheem for mercy {and} he’ll throw you a rope

Encouragement to trust and turn to G_d, not only when we desire something or are in need, but ydaily and it should be reflected by our actions. asking for G_d to help you do so. Apparently Matisyahu was a heavy drug user earlier in his life, and the video and song are obviously an autobiographical depiction of someone who overcame their demons. I have heard a lot of Christians say they like his music. I agree that his music is good… but if someone is looking to Matisyahu as a prophet proclaiming God’s Word, I’m afraid he is very far from it. The title of the song is “King Without a Crown.” Such a title may sound familiar to Christians. Jesus is often described in such a way. However, this is not at all what Matisyahu is referring to in his song. He continues: If you’re drowning in the waters and you can’t stay afloat Ask Hasheem for mercy {and} he’ll throw you a rope

(You’re) lookin’ for help from God; you say he couldn’t be found Searching up to the sky and looking beneath the ground
Like a King without his Crown
You keep fallin’ down
You really want to live but can’t get rid of your frown
You(‘re) try(in’) to reach unto the heights and wound bound down on the ground Matisyahu’s King without his Crown is not Christ, it is himself. The chorus of the song reveals more: What’s this feeling?

My love will rip a hole in the ceiling

(I give/Givin’} myself to you {now} from the essence of my being and I sing to my God, songs of love and healing …..I want Moshiach now so it’s time we start revealing Here he depicts the afflicting emotional torment of a spiritually lost and broken soul , and finally comes to recognition that he is powerless without G_d. He’s at the lowest breaking point in his life and surrenders his will to seeking out Moshiach for hope of healing. Matisyahu uses this experience to exemplify the saving strength and power of loving G_d, reinforcing once again, the significance of faith in our lives. Slavery is also a major theme of Matisyahu’s music, and is emphasized in the live version of “King Without a Crown.”

Matisyahu sings of the slavery in which human beings sometimes bring upon themselves through materialism and hubris: “You’re a slave to yourself and you don’t even know/You want to live the fast life but your brain moves slow/If you’re trying to stay high then you’re bound to stay low/You want G-d but you can’t deflate your ego/If you’re already there then there’s nowhere to go/If you’re cup’s already full then it’s bound to overflow.” “King Without a Crown” is ……………Its widespread popularity is illustrated by the fact “song has been the band’s biggest commercial success, breaking into the Modern Rock Top 10 and peaking at #7 (citation needed).” When critically analyzing the rhetor’s (Matisyahu’s) purpose and underling significance of his song “King Without a Crown,” from a theoretical/conceptual perspective; 3 primary inferences can be made. 1.) Observe/abide by the Torah

2.) G_d is all you need
3.) Only lust for salvation; avoid materialism

Conclusion

Statement: Consider the rhetor’s purpose: 1.) What is the nature – call to action, altering perception, maintain social action? 2.) What was the cost the audience was faced with in terms of the rhetor’s appeals? Reevaluate their faith and lifestyles from a critical standpoint and evaluate the impact faith has to the contribution of our beliefs and actions and recognize what changes must be made for us to fulfill a life in accordance with the teachings of the Torah and walk a path that will lead to heaven and fill the with void/ provide direction in our livees felt by each of us exemplified by “a King Without a Crown” or in other words without a spiritual beacon to guide/ inspire leadership. The cost at critically in-depth analysis of our life is the resulting uneasines/weariness/ relucantce/ dislike/ unfavorable/ flaws/causes uncomfotableness associated with identifying and accepting our flaws.


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