You cannot miss this great conversation with the best rapper out there right now Nissim Black and his incredible personal journey from his childhood in Seattle all the way to where he is now in Bet Shemesh - Israel.
Nissim Baruch Black was born Damian Jamohl Black in Seattle on December 9, 1986, the son of rappers Mia Black and James "Captain Crunch" Croone. His grandparents had also been musicians, playing alongside Ray Charles and Quincy Jones. He grew up in Seattle's Seward Park neighborhood.
He was raised as a Sunni Muslim, but was non-practicing and converted to Christianity at the age of 14 after attending an Evangelical summer camp.
His parents divorced when he was two years old, and his mother took him with her and remarried shortly thereafter. Both his biological parents and stepfather used and sold drugs from home, prompting an FBI raid on the house in 1995 which resulted in his mother's arrest; she later died from an overdose at the age of 37.
Black began rhyming in his preteens, recording under the name Danger. When he was 13, producer Vitamin D moved his studio into Black's stepfather's basement and began mentoring the boy, producing some of his first official recordings. Black also recorded with producer Bean One of Dyme Def. In 2002, Sportn' Life Records published its first release, a split vinyl single between Black and Last Men Standing.
The following year, he appeared on a Sportn' Life compilation album alongside several members of Oldominion. In 2004, the 18-year-old Black was selected by his stepfather to replace him as co-CEO of Sportn' Life, together with his father's partner, DeVon Manier.
In addition to running the label, Black began releasing singles like "You Need a Thug" and "This Is Why" (the latter produced by Jake One, whom he had associated with early on). On May 24, 2005, Black released his first Sportn' Life mixtape Behind the Dirt, which featured appearances from J Smooth and Darrius Willrich of Maktub.In 2007, he released his debut album, The Cause and Effect. Jake One, Bean One, and Vitamin D contributed to the production, though the album did not get much attention outside of the Pacific Northwest scene. Despite this, the album sold over 4,500 copies regionally, and Black was invited to perform on the Vera Project stage at the 2007 Capitol Hill Block Party alongside Blue Scholars.
After The Cause and Effect's release, Black, now a husband and father, began questioning his Christian beliefs, turning to Messianic Judaism and convincing his wife to follow suit.
In 2009, Black released his second album, Ali'yah. The album spent five weeks at number 4 on CMJ's hip hop charts, while the video for its lead single, "Yesterday", also gained regular rotation on MTV.
Six months after the album's release, Black renounced his belief in Jesus and Christianity.
No longer supporting the album's message but unable to quit his contract, he agreed to promote it but refused to accept money outside of touring expenses or perform on Shabbat. He officially retired in 2011 after releasing The Blackest Brown EP with friend and fellow rapper Bradley "B." Brown. He subsequently moved to Seward Park's Jewish community and began studying for conversion with Rabbi Simon Benzaquen at the Sephardic Bikur Holim Congregation. During this time, he cut off all connections to his previous career, including abandoning his position at Sportn' Life and even getting rid of his own music collection.
He officially announced his return to music in September 2012. The following December, he appeared on the Shtar song "Rabbit Hole" from their album Boss EP. On February 26, 2013, he released the mixtape Miracle Music, his first official recording under his new stage name, Nissim, followed by Nissim (September 17, 2013; Nissim World/Fin), Lemala (March 10, 2017; ZOAB Entertainment/Little Box Records) and Gibor (December 9, 2019; Marom Entertainment).
Black and his wife Adina (formerly Jamie), with whom he has six children, were initially married in 2008; they participated in an Orthodox marriage ceremony in 2013 at the Sephardic Bikur Holim Congregation after both had converted.
Black and his family continued to live in the Jewish community of Seward Park, the Seattle neighborhood where he grew up, until making aliyah to Israel in 2016 and settling in Beit Shemesh.