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BLOOD OF ABRAHAM (Buy CDs by this artist)
Future Profits (Ruthless) 1993

One minute hip-hop is bubbling up, pure and unrefined, in South Bronx playgrounds; fifteen years later, it's flowing over cultural barriers like water through a chain link fence. For better or worse (depending on the resolution of debates over community property and artistic appropriation), musical rhyming has become a ready tool to anyone with beats in the bag and something to say. Blood of Abraham — Los Angeles MCs Benyad (an Israeli native raised in Nigeria) and Mazik (a Las Vegan) — are hip, serious-minded, moderately funky Afrocentric Jewish rappers with the blessing of Eazy-E. Although Blood of Abraham dabbles in typical topics — passing the pot in "3-2-1 Contact" — on the album, what sets Future Profits apart is the provocative lyrical uses the unorthodox duo finds for religion, Ethiopian heritage and ethnic identity. "Stick to Your Own Kind" preaches solidarity between Jews and blacks; over a Ramsey Lewis sample, "Stabbed by the Steeple" takes rash and unexplained potshots at Christianity; the daring we-can-say-it epithet-laden "Niggaz and Jews (Some Say Kikes)," featuring Eazy-E, castigates racists and anti-Semites. A simple, low-key album whose subject matter can be overlooked as easily (or not) as the thoughtless bigotry that pollutes some rap records, Future Profits is most notable for containing shoutouts to Ruth, Jeff, Max and Aunt Lillie.

[Ira Robbins]