Shaka Buku - is this website a joke or is this guy for real?

About two years ago I was searching online for information about Hasidic reggae rapper Matisyahu. This was before he had gained the popularity he has now and so there was less material available about him - so I was reading the posts on a reggae message board. Someone had posted something to the effect of: Shaka Buku is the future of reggae. You all should check this guy out, he’s great."

So, I clicked on the link, and was taken to the guy’s website. As soon as I saw it I started laughing. Now, I was quite high at the time, and I may have been overanalyzing things, but I was struck by the idea that the whole website and the whole persona of Shaka Buku was an elaborate joke, created by some extremely ambitious cynics trying to parody the most pathetic musical act ever.

Go to the website and look at the biography. There are a few things in it that are really kind of hilarious:

  • He packed up and moved back to LA to begin a musical education by taking private guitar and voice lessons weekly. This was to be the most difficult time of his life so far, as LA was a far cry from the paradise he had left behind in Aspen and this new endeavor proved to be more of a challenge than anticipated. To suck at something like singing which he had virtually no clue how to do or playing guitar was mentally depressing his spirit. The mental stress then translated into a constant battle with physical illness in the form of colds and flues.*

When I saw this for the first time, I thought that this was a ridiculously lame attempt to try to make it seem like Shaka Buku has had a harder life and therefore give him more street cred (I mean, he grew up rich and popular, so they needed to generate sympathy. But colds and flues? Ooooohhh!)

This period of illness culminated in a three-day bout with vomiting and landed him in the hospital with the doctors unable to provide any explanation for his illness. He had hit rock bottom physically, mentally, and spiritually. This would provide the first opportunity to begin chipping away at his most fundamental negative tendency of arrogance which prevented the learning he so dearly needed in order to truly become happy and succeed in life.

I realize that even minor illnesses can be agonizing and take a toll on people, but “hitting rock bottom, physically, mentally, and spiritually” are words usually used to describe someone sleeping in an alley, huffing paint thinner, and prostituting themselves for money, or something extremely debasing and pathetic in the same vein. For someone as rich and privileged as Shaka Buku (Chad Nellis,) it just seemed so phony and lame to be talking about this stuff the way he is.

Then, scrolling down in the bio section, looking at the pictures on the left hand side, I see this. How can this guy be serious? Look at his other pictures, with the red Hawaiian shirt and the goofy hat, the painted faces, an incredibly goofy drawing, and everything else.

Then, go to the music jukebox and play the song “Sunday Sunday Monday.”

This song is absolutely ridiculous. With all of the soul-searching mumbo jumbo and the spiritualist meanderings and the proclaimed love of music, how could Shaka Buku produce such drivel and take himself seriously? My friend commented that it “sounds like quiz show music.” I think it’s even cheesier. “I’m feeling soooo…high-igh…from my constant meditation.” PLEASE! “The beat of the ghet-to?” Man oh man…then listen to “Home.” The intro sounds like a parody of Creed. “Angel Of My Desire,” arguably the best song, has a good groove until Shaka Buku begins singing, at which point it sucks hard.

So what is the verdict on this guy? Is he a hopelessly misguided middle-aged geek who really thinks he’s “empowering the youth” with his music? Or is this all a big joke?

I’m bumping this because I refuse to let this thread go under. I need to know what people think about Shaka Buku.

When seeing this I was immediately reminded of http://www.gunthernet.com/ (click ‘about’ as well as the video for Ding Dong Song).

Yeah, it’s crap.

You can’t go wrong on this one. Even if he’s serious, he’s a joke.

Is that a joke or for real?!

Wow. You CAN be a pop star without a voice. Or, evidently, without even functioning vocal cords.

Yes, definitely. Crap.

Yes, he’s crap. I have definitive proof. WhyBaby likes him. She has crap taste in music. (Whaddaya want? She’s 17 months old. She thinks techno is cutting-edge.) :smiley:

Nah, it’s for real. I’ve got a bunch of unread articles about Matisyahu around here somewhere. The status of Rastafarians as a Jewish sect is an ongoing discussion. Considering that dreadlocks qualify as not rounding the corners of your head, the idea of a Hasidic Rasta isn’t that outrageous.

It’s for real. Here in southern california we have Chingo Bling. Hard to imagine he’s for real, but he certainly is.

He introduces himself (on the radio, and whatnow) as ChingoBling.com

Well, it’s obviously crap, but that’s not quite the issue here; it’s whether it’s a deliberate joke or not, and I think not. I don’t really have any difficulty believing this guy thinks he’s for real; I’ve had a poke around and have found a few myspace sites and suchlike for people who play with the “band” and don’t think it’s some kind of joke. I think it’s just a talentless sod who thinks he’s the tits. Certainly the bio reads like a self-parody, and it’s possible there’s a bit of knowing mockery in there, but for it to be a joke the music would have to be slightly funny in ways other than being shit, and it’s not.

I have to say though, it’s hilarious to listen to him try to squeeze Jamaican intonation out of his bland, nothingish North American accent. If it’s not a joke, it really should be.

But the idea of combining that theme with any kind of music is. Especially rap.

Brainglutton Rap yes. But, I don’t see any problem putting Hebrew words to a traditional Rasta beat.

I dunno. As someone who used to listen to a lot of underground hip-hop I can say that rapping is something that can be applied to pretty much any scene or culture. There is geek rap, sci-fi rap, rap about just about everything, and from pretty much any ethnic group out there.

I mean, there is a huge rap scene in Israel, where many parts of the country are war zones and there is potential for deep social and political expression through rap music. As for the Hasidic culture in America, I think Matthew Miller plays up the whole Hasidic thing as sort of a ploy for attention. He was not born a Hasid, he adopted the orthodox religion later in life. I did think that the “King Without A Crown” video was a joke when I first saw it - in fact, I was very high at the time and I couldn’t stop laughing at it. But I later realized that it was indeed real, and that Matisyahu is very talented and has a really nice flow to his lyrics - plus a really good band backing him up. Matisyahu is not so much a rapper, really, as he is a reggae singer who sings with rap inflection some of the time. He actually has a very nice singing voice too.

Unfortunately Matisyahu’s latest offerings are not quite as satisfactory to me. His newest song, can’t remember what it’s called, is really pretty mediocre. But “King Without A Crown” is hot shit, as well as “Close My Eyes” and a lot of other good songs.

As for Shaka Buku, I am astounded that someone like that could take himself seriously.