The Nerdy Jewish Eminem

When his debut album
came out in 2002, M.C. Paul Barman was called “the thinking man’s Eminem.”

That isn’t 100% fair–for one thing, Eminem sometimes writes remarkably thoughtful verses. Still, the short, nerdy, flamboyantly-Jewish Barman definitely has a knack for complicated, intricate wordplay. He’s alternately crude (“I hope your ova’s kosher”) and philosophical (he muses on being a white Jewish man in hip-hop: “Have I made a mockery of a culture like the Choco Taco?”).

But Barman’s real talent is in mixing his Jewish nerdiness and rapper street cred. In the middle of a verse of typical hip-hop posturing (about “hustling cameos” and “trying on Grammy clothes”), the music goes silent, and Barman says–“I dropped out of this foolish world/and married a Jewish girl.” It sounds like it should be tongue-in-cheek, but his voice drips with sincerity.

And Barman is sincere. On his newest album, last year’s Thought Balloon Mushroom Cloud, he raps about how much he loves his wife and son. It might not be Eminem-like, but what’s more manly–being macho, or admitting in a macho way that you’re really a softie?

Jewniverse is a daily email about the inspirational, the extraordinary, and the just plain strange. If you want to get fun stuff like this in your email every day, join Jewniverse now! It’s gonna be fun, I promise.

SPONSORED: Take action. Take control. Get screened to protect the health of your future family. Request your kit at!

Matthue RothMatthue Roth is an associate editor at He has written three novels and a memoir, and is the co-creator of the animated Torah series G-dcast. He keeps a secret diary at

The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

Jewish Baby Name Finder


First Letter