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  • Hip Hop Violinist
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Hip Hop Violinist

32 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 20, 2005
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Editorial Reviews

Known as the "the hip-hop violinist," the classically trained Ben-Ari has been (literally) throwing bows with everyone from Wynton Marsalias to Jay-Z over the last few years. Recently appearing on Twista's hit 'Overnight Celebrity' and on 90% of Kanye West's The College Dropout disc, Ben-Ari is now pulling strings on her own aptly-titled debut, The Hip-Hop Violinist, featuring Kanye West, Scarface, Anthony Hamilton, Twista, Lil' Wayne, Lil' Flip and a roster of other A-list artists. Universal. 2005.

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 20, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Umvd Labels
  • ASIN: B000A7Q1QK
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #202,275 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Anthony Rupert on January 27, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Concept albums are a double-edged sword because new listeners might like the new material while old listeners might accuse the artist of selling out -- which explains some of the negative reviews for Miri Ben-Ari's latest album, The Hip-Hop Violinist (no, people, this is not her first album). While I do understand where the naysayers are coming from, I still think this is a good album.

One thing I'd like to explain, though, is the reason as to why there are so many guest stars on here. Well, look at it like when a producer like Quincy Jones, for example, releases an album. Producers are involved with the music, nothing more, while other artists take care of the rhymes and crooning. This is why Miri is only playing instead of rapping or singing. And I actually thought it was easy to hear her strings over all the other instruments. (I also wonder if those that complained that there aren't enough violin solos on here listened to "Lord of the Strings", "Chillin' In the Key of E" or her retake of the "Star-Spangled Banner".)

Anyway, I agree with everyone else when they say that "Sunshine to the Rain" (with Scarface and Anthony Hamilton) is the best song. Anthony also impresses on another track, "She Was Just a Friend", which also features vocals from songstress Algebra (um...). Another good song is "I've Been Waiting On You", which features a chorus by John Legend and verses by Consequence (why oh why can't he get a deal?).

Miri's violins are even able to make Lil' Mo and Fatman Scoop sound decent on "Hold Your Head Up High" and "Jump & Spread Out", respectively. But sometimes even SHE can't salvage others' missteps. Baby and Lil' Wayne sound fine on "4 Flat Tires", but Six Shot's rapping style just feels strange.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ghost in the Matrix on February 2, 2006
Format: Audio CD
If there's a next step in hip-hop's evolution, this has to be it.

I caught Miri's name in a small blurb in Scratch Magazine and right away the idea of a hip-hop album driven and underscored by a violinist stayed with me until the release of this album. Ever since Dr.Dre's "Still Dre" with the signature Ukelele (or however you spell it) and simplified layers of sounds from "Forgot about Dre" I've been waiting for the next generation of producers to step the rap sound up a little.

Until now I've been dissapointed.

The musical complexity of this album almost makes it hard to describe. It really is a few steps beyond any traditional hip-hop and R&B album. Though hip-hop has transcended the color lines in this country, it's still safe to say that it is still considered a "black music form" and often claims to represent the black ghetto experience with grimy, aggressive and sometimes melancholy sounds and lyrics. Ironically, I would say that what Miri has done is more accurate of the inner-city reality, since she spans everything from the soulful to the celebratory. She even reaches back far enough into hip-hop history to bring the legendary beat-box vocalism of Doug E. Fresh. You don't get much more grimy than the Beat Box, since that's all early rappers had for "drum machines." All of this, of course, is threaded together by Miri's violin strings, making the album feel more consistent than today's multi-producer albums.

The standout track on here is "Sunshine to the Rain" featuring Scarface, an underground legend in his own right. This song is good enough to keep writing about. I've followed Scarface's early work with mixed reactions.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Bronwyn Holliday on June 13, 2006
Format: Audio CD
This album is different and in a hip-hop world that continues to grow more monotonous that stands out as successful whether different means good or not.

But it is good. Very good. Miri Ben-Ari is an amazing violinist (The Beautiful Temple and Sahara are her two other, less revolutionary studio albums) and her staccato-filled style aligns perfectly with the snare and bass beats and rap vocals that go along with it. Her talent is evident throughout the entire LP.

Which leaves the success of this violin-rap concept album up to those singing and rhyming over the notes. For the whole, the line-up of guests hold up and help deliver a decent listen.

1. Intro

2. We Gonna Win- Styles P is alone with Ari on the first song. I've never thought much of Styles P as a rapper and still don't after this track but Miri holds her own. 8/10.

3. Jump and Spread Out- Fatman Scoop and Vicious come with a hot dancehall/reggaeton sound on this track. Miri is awesome. 7/10.

4. Fly Away- Miri's best on the album. She's accompanied by Fabolous, who drops a better-than-average verse. Kanye drops a disapointing few lines. Musiq covers the chorus. 8/10.

5. Hold Your Head Up High- Lil' Mo whines terrible lyrics over a weak beat. The violin presence is little. 4/10.

6. Sunshine to the Rain- Scarface and Anthony Hamilton (who already have worked-well together) deliver a great song. Hamliton's voice sounds smooth over Ari's music. 9/10.

7. Lord of the Strings- a short poetic song with J.Ivy reciting a poem about Ari accompanied by Ari's violin. 8/10.

8. Chillin' in the Key of E- just Ari in E. No guests. Sounds great. 9/10.

9. Miss Melody- best song on the album.
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