Matisyahu might have the market cornered on his particular niche of expression, that of reggae-tinged high-polish hip-hop beats with lyrical inspiration stemming from his roots in Hasidic Judaism and its traditions. While themes of belief, retribution, and religious tropes come through from time to time on fifth album Akeda, spirituality takes somewhat of a back seat to Matisyahu's huge beats and reggae-pop basslines, though each song comes across in a wash of positive sentiments and philosophical musing. The album runs back and forth between tunes steeped in traditional reggae influence such as "Black Heart" and the Collie Buddz guest-spotted "Confidence" and more pop-minded tunes like the brilliant horns of "Watch the Walls Melt Down" and the Coldplay-meets-Bruno Mars croon of "Ayeka (Teach Me to Love)." Matisyahu may be the only "Hasidic reggae superstar" (a distinction he makes in reference to himself on more than one of Akeda's tunes), but over the album's hour-plus running time he delivers such solidly catchy and meticulously produced pop music that much of its lyrical content and any deeper message get lost in the head-bobbing beats and pleasantly dubby basslines.
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AllMusic Review by Fred Thomas