Overcoming adversity to keep living strong from this Israel hip hop pioneer.
SHI 360 is an artist who has gone to great lengths and overcome tremendous adversity to pursue his dreams of a life filled with hip hop success, and his new single "Dying" is his next giant step on that path! Born in Israel to North African parents, his first exposure to hip hop came from a pirate radio station run by Israeli peace activist Abie Nathan, which was broadcast from a ship "somewhere in the Mediterranean." It was the only place his young ears could find this sound.
After immigrating to Canada as a young boy, he was forced to adapt to a new culture, learn new languages, and deal with anti-Semitism for the first time in his life. His solace was found in his exposure to hip hop as a culture. He loved all sides of the hip hop scene, it even helped him master the English language. He became a voracious listener and student of the music. His first album "Chapters", was highly acclaimed amongst hip hop heads worldwide. It featured Montreal's biggest hip hop names and established SHI as a respected lyricist. Eventually returning to Israel, which was virtually untapped by the hip hop movement. Teaching himself to rap in Hebrew and incorporating Middle Eastern melodies brought it all together and within a short period of time he had become a pioneer, reaching gold and platinum status before his own solo project was even released.
Throughout his rise, SHI 360 has lived with a heart condition that prevented him from performing live. His determination guided him through four heart surgeries that ultimately allowed him to fully heal and release his first solo Hebrew rap album Chai, followed by multiple Hebrew and English albums. From that point on, he had top-rated singles on Israeli radio and TV. After becoming the first Hip Hop artist from Israel to officially showcase at SXSW, he has returned to Canada while keeping one foot firmly entrenched in the Israeli scene, spreading his music across continents. His new single "Dying" is a masterpiece in the making, one that showcases his compelling voice unafraid to challenge conventional wisdom.
For the "Dying" video, there is no doubt about his location. The snow and winter landscape makes it clear SHI 360 is deep in the heart of Canada. But this is also by design, and an artistic choice. What starts as a minimal color palette of black and white is soon expanded to include a vast array of colors as SHI slowly makes his way into the tunnel. Like a metaphor for the song he heads towards the light at the end of the tunnel. Inside the tunnel he locks eyes with what symbolizes his struggle of "giving up or keep going." It's a thought provoking tune with powerful visuals and deeper meanings, and few artists can pull off something of this depth. SHI 360 has been overcoming adversity and the challenges put before him for years, so it's no surprise that he handles this task with ease and conviction.
SHI 360 spoke to us during his SXSW appearance. He talks about his collaboration with Turkish hip hop artists and the bridges hip hop can build in the troubled Middle East area.