Subliminal
Subliminal Subliminal, Kobi Shimoni, was born in 1979 in Tel-Aviv, Israel. He started creating Hip-Hop sections at the age of 12, and even recorded improvisations. As a teenager he appeared in discos and pubs which usually performed Reggae music, and in practice introduced Hip-Hop to Israeli clubs. He started the first Hip-Hop club in Israel, and was a actively involved in the starting of many others around Tel-Aviv, including “Seven”, “The Joint”, “Virus”, “House on 26” and more. Friends from Los-Angeles, who heard him perform in freestyle, persuaded Subliminal to try and sing Rap in Hebrew. At the time, there wasn’t a recording studio in Israel that dealt with the genre, so Subliminal built one; nor was there a Hip-Hop stage, so Subliminal opened a club and offered a stage to Hip-Hop artists in the club. At the age of 17 he was the initiator of the revolutionary Rap project “Angry Israelis, Each and Every One”, and positive comments and reviews encouraged Subliminal to keep on in his mission to create successful Hip- Hop in Hebrew.

Subliminal immediately started to write material for his first album, “The Light from Zion”. None of the people surrounding him believed that there is a chance for the album to be a success, but Subliminal drew a team around him that pursued a single goal – to fulfil the dream of “Real Israeli Hip-Hop in Hebrew”. And thus, in that revolutionary team, the first cornerstone of Israeli Hip-Hop was born, in the form of his first album; thus also began the team – “the TACT family – architects of Israeli Hip-Hop”.

When the album’s creation was almost complete, Subliminal was drafted to 3 years of military service in the IDF and so the project was halted; nevertheless, Subliminal didn’t give up on his dream, but rather continued to write material, plan his moves and strategy to bring the outbreak of Hip-Hop to the Israeli public. With his release from the army, Subliminal was prepared to complete the task: he converted TACT (Tel Aviv City)into an official label and signed a distribution contract with the record- company Helicon, so in effect the first official Subliminal album was released with a 3-year delay, produced by TACT and distributed by Helicon.

After releasing a song to the radio (“More than a Friend”, a duet with Baruch Friedland), Subliminal got special attention when he was invited to appear alongside Gidi Gov at the Tamuz Israeli music awards ceremony. A few weeks later his first album was released, all Subliminal the parts written composed by him, and featuring Galit Dahan, The Shadow (Yoav Aliasi), Chucky Dee, Shai 360 (Shai Hadad), Momi Levi, Chulo, The Opening Quartet, and more – all unknown artists at the time. One of the highlights in the album was “Living from Day to Day” with The Shadow and Momi Levi, which received very harsh critique due to its explicit political opinion, something which was previously only very seldom done by Israeli musicians, as they often tried to avoid the turbulent Israeli political swamp.

Up until then, Israeli music was chiefly concerned with inspiring people to dance and be happy, and wasn’t used to convey messages, Subliminal’s first goal to achieve was to make the public listen to his words and not just flow with the rhythm of the music. Although the media wasn’t supportive of Subliminal, calling him an “Extremist Rightist”, a “producer of Hatred Music” and even a “Fascist”, Subliminal had a vast amount of support from the public and swept many youths through his concerts, clubs and even the radio. The album eventually went gold.

His second album, “The Light and the Shadow”, was a Hip-Hop classic which went double-platinum and was the most sold album in Israel. This album introduced new artists like Bouskilss, Sivan, Ha’archion, Ro’I Edri, Alona Tal and Yinon Ben- David (Human Beat Box) – alongside ones who’re already becoming famous from their appearance in “The Light of Zion”, like Momi Levi, Shai 360, Chulo, Chucky Dee and Galit Dahan. Ron Shoval was also featured in the album on one song.

At this stage, TACT was already an official body, larger and stronger than previously due to the working teams, including an active street-team, and now with professional studios belonging to it, as well as clubs in Tel-Aviv and many fans. It was the perfect timing for Subliminal to return to his old agenda. The first single drawn out of “The Light and the Shadow” again, dealt with political issues: “Together we’ll Survive, Alone we’ll Collapse” spoke of solidarity; and yet in protest, Subliminal decided to call the single “Divide and Conquer” in order to attract the attention of reviewers and journalists. The plan was a success and the song received reviews from enraged journalists who again spoke of extremism and tagged the song with “the fascists are back”; by this stage, though, Subliminal was popular enough that the public disregarded these comments and fans wrote and spoke (on radio) their Subliminal own positive reviews. Many found the song’s message a positive one of solidarity and community, and it is only the song’s title that was changed; and so the song was a hit on all the charts and was even nicknamed “the first patriotic anthem of the Intifada”. The album proceeded to supply the songs for another six hit-singles. “Subliminal and The Shadow” suddenly became an occurrence which swept Israeli fans off their feet, both youths and adults.

In subsequent years, Subliminal and The Shadow won almost all the awards available by the Israeli music industry, and for a year and a half they travelled abroad to perform, performing on average 26 times a month. They also won the European Hip-Hop Achievement Award in Belgium.

Unlike the image associated with rappers in the United States, of criminals and gang-members, Subliminal and The Shadow – due to their effect on their fans – always strove to be straightforward and develop a positive image, their lyrics supporting patriotism, respect for tradition, serving in the IDF, and fighting smoking, drugs, violence and crime. Songs like “Street Boy”, which pass a powerful message to erring teenagers who turn to drugs and crime, are the success of a value- holding, performing artist.

A song like that could change a people’s lives and return them to the right track, and such was the case: thousands of thank-you letters were sent to the TACT and Helicon studios, from teenagers who returned to the right track and parents who wanted to thank Subliminal and The Shadow for inspiring their children to do so. From Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s office, an invitation was sent to Subliminal and The Shadow for a handshake and compliments on their work. Also, the education ministry and the council for road-safety took Subliminal and The Shadow as their image and representatives when dealing with safety and anti-drug education for teenagers; the foreign ministry even sent them overseas for a performance tour as honorary ambassadors of Israel.

In 2004 the album “Tact AllStars” was distributed, featuring all of Subliminal’s label-artists alongside top guest-artists in Israel. This album was released independently by Subliminal’s own distribution company: “Street- Voice Distribution”. The album included hit songs like “Flowers in a barrel”, “The Secret” with Sarit Hadad, “No Limits” by Sivan, “You Judge Me” with Sarel, “No-Man’s-Land” with Momo Levi, “Tinanai” by Shai 360 and Booskills, “Forever” and “It’s in the Books” by Itzik Shamly, and more.

In addition, guest appearances on the album included Killah Priest, Remedy from the Wu-Tang and the legendary producer J.R. (Jonathan Rotem), who produced music for Snoop, 50 Cent, Beyoncé Knowles and others. The album sold over 30,000 copies during the first week in the shops, and stabilised TACT as a leading record company in Israel and revealed the existence of other Israeli Hip-Hop artists other than Subliminal who were on the rise – In 2005 the first non-Subliminal and The Shadow album signed with Subliminal TACT, which was Shai 360’s. The first single from it, “Take It” featuring The Shadow, broke the ice and opened the doors for Israeli Hip-Hop artists.

Shai immediately left for a concert tour, and in less than a year opened his own Record Label “Emet” (Truth, a notarikon for “Art, Music, Culture”).

While other TACT artists were racing to release their own solo albums, Subliminal surprised all with his new album “Just when You Thought it was All Over”. In the album, Subliminal is already in the midst of the consensus, with guests such as Shlomi Shabbat, David D’or, David Brosa and obviously the TACT family. However, this time Subliminal’s album is honoured with top artists from the United States, such as Wyclef Jean and Miri Ben-Ari. From the album come several hits such as “Toro”, “Classy and Persian”, “In Tel-Aviv” and more. The album has practically gone gold.

By 2006 Subliminal has already a cellular content company called “TACT Interactive”, a large, successful website: www.tact- records.com, so that in the arena of cellular and digital downloads, Subliminal was selling hundreds of thousands of copies of his songs independently.

With the success of the album and the exclusive repertoire Subliminal has, TACT Interactive has become the leading company of its sort in Israel, having introduced cutting-edge technology and acquired many customers. In 2007, Subliminal wrote together with the Grammy-awarded Hip-Hop violinist Miri Ben-Ari a touching song dealing with the memorisation of the Holocaust, “Wordly Lord, Until When?” with the aim of fighting teenagers’ ignorance of the topic. They performed the song together on Holocaust Memorial Eve and at the Yad-Vashem ceremony in front of Holocaust survivors and teenagers from around the world in events which the manager of Yad-Vashem defined as “the changing of history’s wing-beats”.

Today, Subliminal is involved in many other associated things: his own recording studios, representing new artists and booking, artistic management for celebrations, publishing, manufacturing and marketing of side-products, nightlife, marketing through TACT, commerce through the Internet and cellular services, and even bringing artists from abroad to Israel (such as Akon in 2007 to Tel Aviv). Subliminal also appears on advertisements and marketing campaigns for large companies and leading firms in a variety of fields. In addition, Subliminal has cooperated numerous times with important social issues: he collaborated with the “Green Light” organisation, Holocaust memorisation, anti-violence campaign in partnership with the Elem committee, Tu Bishvat plantings with the Jewish National Fund, concerts for soldiers, telethons and more.

Subliminal was chosen by the government to represent the country as a musical ambassador overseas and even went on tours with the country’s blessings. Recently Subliminal and the TACT family appeared in Mexico in front of the Jewish community on behalf of Keren Hayesod; over 5000 people attended. As of today, all of the TACT artists’ solo albums are ready and prepared, and next year the TACT label will release the début albums of The Shadow, Itzik Shamly, Sivan and Booskills, and Shai 360’s second album. Subliminal has become a multi-age consensus, present in every home in Israel, to young and old, children and parents, to Israelis, Jews, and anyone who likes Hip-Hop in Israel and abroad. And this journey has only begun…