Matisjahu in Zurich, Switzerland
Matisyahu fuses the contemporary styles of reggae, rap, beatboxing, and hip-hop in general, with the more traditional vocal disciplines of jazz's scat singing and Judaism's hazzan style of songful prayer.
The New York Times' Kelefa Sanneh wrote that "His sound owes a lot to early dancehall reggae stars like Barrington Levy and Eek-a-Mouse." The Chicago Tribune's Kevin Pang described a Matisyahu performance as "soul-shaking brand of dancehall reggae, a show that captures both the jam band vibe of Phish and the ska-punk of Sublime." Coming from his Jewish beliefs and compounding his use of the hazzan style, Matisyahu's lyrics are mostly English with more than occasional use of Hebrew and Yiddish.
In 2006, Matisyahu stated that "All of my songs are influenced and inspired by the teachings that inspire me. I want my music to have meaning, to be able to touch people and make them think. Chassidus teaches that music is 'the quill of the soul.' Music taps into a very deep place and speaks to us in a way that regular words can't." In 2009, he said about his recently released album Light, "I think the vast majority of people that respect what I do are willing to move with me. I think it's not so much about genres or styles of music as it is about expressing the emotion or the idea. ... Whatever allows you to do that, whatever style, as long as it's authentic." In 2010 he also confirmed his first speaking date at the University of Central Florida.