You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

What the World Needs Now Is a DJ Khaled-Netta Barzilai Collaboration

If politicians can't forward the peace movement, maybe music can, writes rapper Kosha Dillz.

I’ve recently become infatuated with Netta Barzilai, the Israeli singer who won the Eurovision competition, held last week in Portugal, with her #Metoo inspired song “Toy.” It was the first time in 20 years that Israel had taken the top prize in the global contest, after dominating in the final years of the 1970s.

Of course, celebrating that winning moment back then, like now, comes with its own challenges. Namely, the seemingly unsolvable Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As an Israeli-American hip-hop artist, analyzing, debating and thinking about it is a constant, and nowhere more confrontational than on social media.

Earlier this week, I clicked on DJ Khaled’s Instagram and noticed a post which included the Dome of the Rock, the Muslim holy site in Jerusalem. The missive, which read: “praying for my people x praying for peace x praying for all my families, praying for everyone #world peace,” had much more interaction and engagement than his other posts. Last I checked, it was approaching 7,000 comments. I then hopped over to Netta’s Instagram, where she had amassed nearly 6,000 comments responding to her post-win show of gratitude, in which she wrote, “My beloved Israel, this victory is yours. … Do not forget that thought creates reality, and do not stop rejoicing and demonstrating strength and unity to each other and to the world.”

Both posts offered gratitude and prayer, and both comments sections turned into an instant war zone. Wrote one commenter to Khaled: “It’s ok to say the word Palestine… We’ll respect you more.”

The current protests on Israel’s border with Gaza, in which more than 60 people have died, including 50 noted Hamas terrorists, are the impetus for the online clash. Watching the news reports, the coverage seems lopsided, but also familiar: the world is yet again turning a microscope onto a tiny corner of the Middle East.

As an Israeli, I’m frustrated; as an artist, I’m hopeful. I pose a possible solution: That DJ Khaled, who’s arguably one of the most successful hitmakers, of Muslim descent or otherwise, to emerge in recent years, and Netta Barzilai, who’s riding a crest of good will and positive vibes, combine their powers and collaborate. Maybe a remix of “Toy” or a brand new track?

Easier asked than done, and no doubt both artists wouldn’t want to risk “alienating their fanbase,” a favorite phrase of anyone with a following.

As artists, we like to believe that music heals. So could we work together and respect one another for the greater good of humanity? As fellow rapper Matisyahu, who has himself reflected deeply on the Jewish religion and the state of Israel, led us in song to believe: maybe “One Day” there will be “no more war and our children will play.”

Instead of arguing over who’s right and who’s wrong, we need to offer tangible solutions from the music community. Organizations like Tune in TLV and Ramallah Music Export which are trying to helping local Israeli and Palestinian artists take their art beyond their physical borders, are a good start. Now let’s do the same and get beyond the comments section to something that’s constructive, and maybe even inspiring.

Rami Even-Esh performs under the stage name Kosha Dillz. He has created songs like “No More War” and Dodging bullets with Matisyahu and is also performing on the final Vans Warped Tour this summer. His most recent song, “What I do All Day,” has absolutely nothing to do with Middle Eastern politics.

More Music

  • Noah CentineoNickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards, Show,

    Kids’ Choice Awards 2019: JoJo Siwa, Noah Centineo Take on Bullying

    This year’s Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards was full of positivity and encouragement to be yourself. DJ Khaled, known for his upbeat mantras, hosted the 32nd annual awards ceremony alongside JoJo Siwa at USC’s Galen center. Siwa accepted the award for favorite social music star. Siwa said in her acceptance speech, “I get hated on every [...]

  • Concert Review: Yoko Ono Saluted By

    Concert Review: Yoko Ono Earns a Wide-Ranging, All-Female Salute at Disney Hall

    Yoko One was — is — nothing if not an artist of many facets, as someone who started out in the most avant-garde corners of the visual and performance art worlds and ended up having a flair for conventional pop songwriting. Both sides, the disrupter and the sentimentalist, were celebrated in a wide-ranging tribute concert [...]

  • NF_D_JGN-D6-2160.cr2

    Film Review: 'The Dirt'

    A long time ago, the words sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll carried a hint of danger. The lifestyle did, too, but I’m talking about the phrase. It used to sound cool (back around the time the word “cool” sounded cool). But sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll has long since passed into the realm [...]

  • James Newton Howard Danny Elfman

    New Trend in Concert Halls: Original Music by Movie Composers — No Film Required

    Movie and TV composers are in greater demand than ever for, surprisingly, new music for the concert hall. For decades, concert commissions for film composers were few and far between. The increasing popularity of John Williams’ film music, and his visibility as conductor of the Boston Pops in the 1980s and ’90s, led to his [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content