Subliminal (rapper)

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Background information
Birth name Ya'akov Shimoni
Born (1979-11-13) November 13, 1979 (age 42)
Tel Aviv, Israel
Origin Tel Aviv, Israel
Genres Hip hop
Occupation(s) Rapper, record producer
Years active 1999–present
Labels TACT Records/Helicon
Associated acts TACT Family, Joe Budden, Miri Ben-Ari

Ya'akov "Kobi" Shimoni (Hebrew: יעקב "קובי" שמעוני, born November 13, 1979), generally known by his stage name Subliminal (Hebrew: סאבלימינל‎), is an Israeli rapper and record producer.


Subliminal was born in Tel Aviv, Israel to a Persian Jewish mother and Tunisian Jewish father. Subliminal started performing music at age 12, and at age 15 met Yoav Eliasi. The two quickly became friends as a result of their mutual love of hip-hop.

In 1995 the two began performing in Israeli clubs geared toward a hip-hop audience, wearing baggy clothes and gold chains. They quickly developed a following among the nation's youth, and soon put out their first album, "The Light From Zion".

After the outbreak of the Second Intifada in 2000 the two began writing patriotic songs. They became known as creators of "Zionist hip-hop", a label still applied to them. In further contrast to the generally rebellious, "outlaw" nature of most hip-hop, they also praise army service and eschew drugs and smoking.

Subliminal's being the son of Jewish refugees is at the core of his hard-line politics. "In Tunisia, my father grew up with his family locking all the doors and windows whenever performing a Jewish ceremony -- out of fear of attacks." Both parents, he says, "ran for their lives" to Israel, where they spent decades recovering from the persecution they had faced.[1]

Subliminal and Ha'Tzel also helped discover the Palestinian rapper Tamer Nafar; they collaborated but eventually fell out over Subliminal and Nafar's political disagreement. The bitter end of their musical relationship is chronicled in the documentary film, Channels of Rage.

In 2006 Subliminal collaborated with contratenor David D'Or for the song "Ten Koah" ("Give Me Strength") on Subliminal's hip hop album, Just When You Thought it Was Over.[2]

In 2010 Subliminal married Ines Goldberg.

Social impact

Through lyrics and concerts, Subliminal and his rap group aim to inspire and encourage a new generation to stand as a unified Israeli nation. At many of his concerts, Subliminal begins by calling to the audience, “Who is proud to be a Zionist in the state of Israel, put your hands in the air! Hell yeah!”[3] Subliminal can be seen at many of his concerts wearing American hip hop clothing and a large Star of David chain necklace. Journalist Joshua Mitnick writes that with Subliminal’s patriotic, 2002 chart-topping album “Ha’or v’Ha’tzel” (The Light and the Shadow),

he transformed the Star of David into a fashion statement and helped integrate the music of urban America into the fold of Israeli pop… For Subliminal, the music has generated tens of thousands of record sales. For Israeli teens, it has given voice to their outrage at the state of affairs in their country. Hip-hop, a quintessentially American art form, is helping bolster national morale in a country bruised by… years of fighting between Israelis and Palestinians.[3]

Subliminal uses hip hop to identify with and inspire Israeli teenagers through a new, global medium. Though the messages in his songs are not new, Israeli teenagers that listen to his music grew up in Israel decades after the establishment of the country. Subliminal and his group attempt to instill a new sense of Zionism to teenagers in the 21st-century. He uses hip hop, writing lyrics and portraying images reflective of life in the country, to communicate with teenagers today.


When we talk politics with Arabs in Israel, they say, 'My grandfather used to live in Tel Aviv, and now it's owned by Jewish people -- we want to come back,'" he says. "I respond, 'My parents came from Iran and Tunisia, but nobody is going to give our property back to us. It's all been confiscated . . . We have this little sandbox we call Israel. We give our hearts and lives to make it a proud country. Every one serves in the Israeli Defense Force in order for Israel to survive. You have half of the globe.'"

After the killing of an Israeli soldier, stabbed in his sleep by a Palestinian on a bus, the rapper was quoted saying:

Now he’ll go into a jail in Israel like a hero! Will study a few degrees and get connected to all the heads of Palestinian terror groups…

Damn all those savages, we should burn the jails with all of them inside! And a second later we should destroy Jenin whose inhabitants gloat that they are the stronghold of terror against Israel… Another embarrassing moment for me to be an Israeli! The people of Israel – wake up! And all the lefties who hate what I wrote here – kill yourselves already! I wish what happened yesterday would happen to a relative of yours and you’ll wake up from the zany dream you’re holding on to and splitting and weakening my people...[4]


Studio albums

  • Ha'Or m'Zion (האור מציון, "The Light From Zion") (2000)
  • Ha'Or Ve'HaTzel with HaTzel (האור והצל, "The Light and the Shadow") 2002
  • TACT All-Stars with Mishpacha TACT (תאקט אול סטארז, "TACT All-Stars") (2004)
  • Bediuk Kshe'Chashavtem she'Hakol Nigmar (בדיוק כשחשבתם שהכל נגמר, "Just When You Thought It Was All Over") (2006)
  • Jew-niversal (2011)



Non-album singles
  • Shir Shel Rega Eḥad (Hebrew: שיר של רגע אחד, "Song of One Moment") (2005)
  • Yoter mi'Zeh Anaḥnu lo Tzrikhim (Hebrew: יותר מזה אנחנו לא צריכים, "We don't need more than this") featuring Itzik Shamli (2006)
From TACT All-Stars
  • Hineni/Viens Ici (Hebrew: הנני/Viens Ici, "Here I am") featuring Francky Perez (2004)
  • Lama (Hebrew: למה, "Why?") (2004)
  • Prahim ba'Kaneh (Hebrew: פרחים בקנה, "Flowers in the Turrets") (2004)
  • Peace in the Middle East (Hebrew: שלום במזרח התיכון, "Peace in the Middle East") (2005)


From Bediuk Kshe'Hashavtem she'Hakol Nigmar
Non-album singles
  • Adon Olam Ad Matai? (Hebrew: אדון עולם עד מתי, "God Almighty, When Will It End?") featuring Miri Ben-Ari (2007)
  • Bat Shishim Hebrew: "60 Years Old" - A Song that was sung on the 60th year anniversary of Israel. It is a remake of the original song recorded by HaGevatron, which recorded it again with Subliminal. It reached the top of the Israeli music charts for 5 weeks in a row. (2008)
  • HaSod (Hebrew:, "The Secret") featurin Sarit Hadad and The Shadow (2008)
  • Alay (Hebrew: עלי, "On me") featuring Dana International (2009)
  • International (Hebrew: אינטרנשיונל, "International") (2010)
  • Fuego (English) featuring Tony Touch (2010)
  • In Love (Hebrew), featuring Liran Aviv (2011)

See also


  1. Israeli Rapper Takes U.S. : Rolling Stone Archived May 16, 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  2. Press, Viva Sarah (September 25, 2006). "Sabra Sounds: Year in Review". The Nation. Retrieved 2009-05-11. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 Joshua Mitnick, “Israeli Hip-Hop Takes on Mideast Politics,” USA Today, November 6, 2003.
  4. Kaufman, ASmi. "Israeli rapper: 'First burn all jails with Palestinians inside, then destroy Jenin!'". 972 Magazine. Retrieved 15 November 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


External links