Yitz Jordan (born January 5, 1978), better known by his stage name Y-Love, is a Los Angeles-based American hip-hop artist. An Orthodox Jew, Jordan was formerly Hasidic. Jordan rhymes in a mixture of English, Hebrew, Yiddish, Arabic, Latin and Aramaic, often covering social, political and religious themes.
Jordan, an only child, was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland to a Christian Ethiopian father and Puerto Rican mother, occasionally attending a Baptist church. As a youth, Jordan was a fan of the conscientious rhymes of KRS-ONE and Public Enemy's Chuck D.
Jordan first became interested in Judaism at the age of seven. "I saw a commercial that said, 'Happy Passover from your friends at Channel 2,'" he said, "and I went drawing six-pointed stars on everything at my mother's house." He started wearing a kippah and observing Shabbat at 14, and converted to Judaism around the turn of millennium. He later spent time studying at a yeshiva in Jerusalem. Jordan has also read the Quran, believing that familiarity with a variety of religious texts will help bring understanding.
In May 2012, Jordan came out as gay. He still identifies as an Orthodox Jew.
After moving to Brooklyn in 2001, Jordan began performing at open mics around the city as Y-Love. He received a measure of criticism from the local Jewish population for also being a member of the hip hop community.
Y-Love released his first mixtape in 2005, DJ Handler Presents Y-Love: The Mixtape, leading to an award for Best Hip Hop Artist at Heeb's 2006 Jewish Music Awards. A few years later, he teamed up with beatboxer Yuri Lane to record the a capella album, Count It (Sefira). The vocals-only offering can be listened to by Orthodox Jews year-round, including the period between Passover and Shavuot, when it's not permitted to listen to musical instruments.
In the Fall of 2008, Y-Love released his first solo full-length album, This Is Babylon. XXL said the album "balances Jewish spirituality with party rhymes and political commentary in an effort to spread Y-Love's message of global unity." His 2011 EP See Me (produced by Diwon) debuted as a "New and Noteworthy Release" on the front page of the iTunes Hip Hop page. The music video for the EP's single "This Is Unity" was called "awesome" by URB.
Y-Love generally comes up with his rhymes through extensive freestyling. "You freestyle and wait until something hot comes out," he says.
The Jerusalem Post called Y-Love a "spiritual, rapping guru" who is "front and center in a trending hip-hop revolution." He was named to The Jewish Week's 2009 36 Under 36, an annual list of 36 notable Jews under the age of 36. "I'm using hip hop to elevate," Y-Love stated. "That's what I'm about."
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