Yoav Fromer profiles Yaakov “Kobi” Shimoni, also known as Subliminal, one of Israel's most popular conservative rappers:

Although a rapper by name, Subliminal radically defies the archetypical characteristics of traditional hip-hop performers. He doesn’t drink, smoke, do drugs, or fight, and he preaches against these things in his music. Sporting a self-styled wardrobe he refers to as “chic-Zionism,” his bling is a colossal diamond-covered Star of David necklace. He wears baggy pants, oversized knee-length jerseys, and sideways baseball capsthe style of a “gangsta rapper” without any of the “gangsta” features. Like a reformed rapper who lacks those rebellious qualities that for good or bad may actually make rap interesting in the first place, Subliminal offers his fans a sterilized hip-hop spectacle: Snoop without the weed, Eminem without the rage, or Tupac without the guns....

For anyone seeking to understand Israel’s right turn in recent yearsa trend exemplified by the government’s decision to require loyalty oaths from its non-Jewish populationSubliminal’s music seems like a good place to start. ...

Unlike American hip-hop, which developed in stark opposition to anything that could be associated with the establishment, Subliminal’s self-proclaimed “Zionist hip-hop” has always followed an inverted model. (He half-jokingly told me, “I am the establishment.”) While Public Enemy called on listeners to “fight the power,” Subliminal instead decided to join it. “This is Israel, not America” he explained. “If I see a cop chasing someone down the street, odds are, you will see me running along to help out the cop.”

Listening to all of his music at once can feel like taking in a full DVD box set of after-school specials, with a broad set of subjects: hope, patriotism, strength, unity, order, faith, and peace. There is no mention of hatred, racism, Islamophobia, Israeli occupation, or other touchstones of Israeli radicalism. The image of violencethe sine qua non for any self-respecting extremistis unequivocally presented in a negative light and shunned rather than sanctioned by his music. “When a song makes a left-wing stance they call it protest,” says Arye Avitan (aka “Tchulu”), who owns a chain of hip-hop clothing stores and is a veteran music producer who has mentored many young rappers, including Subliminal. “But when it suggests something remotely right-wing, they immediately call it fascism.”

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