Besides the fact that she's just so gosh darn beautiful, the hip-hop community took to Miri Ben-Ari because of her spirited playing that perfectly fit songs like Twista's "Overnight Celebrity," and in many ways it made them. Right from the title, The Hip-Hop Violinist relies too much on the gimmick of such a thing, and in the end comes off less satisfying than her jazz releases, which had more inspired tiles like Sahara and Temple of Beautiful instead of Female Israeli Jazz Violinist. Half of her guests can't help but dwell on her name, her beauty, and her quirky role in hip-hop, repeatedly giving props to her instead of offering anything substantial. Good news is Lil' Mo will have none of it, instead delivering the uplifting "Hold Your Head Up High" with a passion to which Miri's winding violin responds with spirit. "Chillin' in the Key of E" is intriguing Vivaldi meets Wes Montgomery meets hanging out downtown, and the Southern party anthem "4 Flat Tires" with Baby, Lil Wayne, and Six Shot makes up for a lot of filler. Hearing Doug E. Fresh's human beatbox accompany Ben-Ari's interpretive take on "Star Spangled Banner" is exciting and neither John Legend nor Kanye West damage their lofty status, but insights into Ben-Ari the artist are just too rare. Consider it a mixtape with Ben-Ari appearances and it's more hit than miss, but as thrilling and as fun as the album can be, you can't help but wish the unique voice on her earlier recordings was more center stage.
AllMusic Review by David Jeffries
feat: Lil' Mo
feat: Pharoahe Monch
feat: Doug E. Fresh