Friday, October 22, 2010

99 Problems...

There is something special with musical crossover cooperations. When artists who have a very clear cut musical and semiotic identity have the guts to pick up a cover from somewhere completely unexpected or calls up a guest artist on stage from a completely different genre. The swedish folk punk band (think the Pogues) Traste Lindéns Kvintett used to do a Swedish version cover of Motorheads' Ace of Spades with guest guitarist from a Death Metal band, and Motorhead (Or rather their legendary dictator Lemmy Kilminster, inofficial coolest white man alive) themselves, are legendary for their fantastic covers of Metallica, Sex Pistols and a bunch of others. The "Classic" Motorhead setting actually broke because of Lemmys insistance of covering country classic Stand by your man - Philthy Phil took his heroine addiction and left in protest.

A bunch of years ago MTV picked this up by making different artist "Mash up" a few of their best pieces. Most of these cooperations weren't much, but it resulted in a cooperation that actually came out better than the original tunes and resulted in the Mini CD Collision Course, with kingpin Gangsta Rapper Jay-Z and Nu Metal crown contenders Linkin Park mashed their best tracks. And does this swing!!!

The best track by far on this CD is 99 Problems, which has the extra touch that the Jay-Z track with that name is actually a paraphrase on an Ice-T track with the same name (the lyrics is basically quite changed from Ice-T's version to something slightly more PC...). If you think Rap usually has too little bite and Nu Metal has too little Swing, this is the record to get your hands on! If you can sit still through these 6 Metal heavy, Hip Hop bumbing, Jazzy jumbing tracks, you are probably a Zombie.

So here I am, listening to Collision Course, recently arrived to lovely Beer Sheva after a visit to Tel Aviv. In Tel Aviv I followed up a tip I had gotten from a Swedish friend here. Apparently A nice person has come up with the splendid idea to start importing and introducing Swedish Snus in Israel. For those of you who don't know what Swedish Snus is, it's a classic Swedish smoke-free tobacco product, made up of fine grain tobacco, salt and water, and then packed in small pouches, that you discretely put under you upper lip. This way you get your nicotine along with a smooth tobacco taste, without bothering anyone else and without risking your health. The importer has even taken the bother to kosher certify all the ingredients which makes this Swedish Snus the first kosher certified tobacco product in the world. The brand is tailor made for the Israeli market, and is called Stop. In Sweden Snus has become a major in the last few years, precisely because thousands of people are using it to stop smoking, hence the brand name Stop. In any case I managed to find the tobacco store which is selling the Snus, and I bought 10 of each taste, regular and menthol. After some looking around I managed to get the phone number of the manufacturer, a religious Jew and recent Oleh Chadash, and he tells me that he came up with the idea of introducing Swedish Snus in Israel as a way to get people to stop smoking (Israelis smoke like chimneys and smoke health issues is a big problem), and as he wanted influence the religious, orthodox and charedi Jewish community as well, he took the trouble of getting a kosher certificate.  Now his company Swedish Tobacco has started distributing to stores all over Israel and if you feel like kicking your smoking habit, you'll find more information on their web page:

In TA I also met up with Jonathan and his girlfriend Sanna, and we spent the night eating Burekas, talking, and generally having a good time. Jonathan is one of the driving forces behind the Stockholm Beit midrash and Sanna works for the Swedish-Israeli Information Center.

OK - candle lighting time! Have a great weekend and Shabat Shalom!


  1. In Jerusalem, you can (or could while I was there 1,5 year ago at least) buy General Snus at the small tobacco & booze-store on Rehov Agron (next to the Supersol)...

  2. Cool, I'll look it up. Problem is that as tobacco ads are forbidden in Israel, it becomes almost impossible to market smoke free tobacco alternatives such as Snus, etc...currently I've been depending on visits from Sweden for my cravings...