Last week, Los Angeles rapper Kosha Dillz had his website hacked by ISIS. No, this is not some weird promotional stunt. This actually happened.
The affable Jewish rapper, signed to Murs’ 3:16 imprint, found his place in cyberspace vandalized, raising flags among his friends and the Department of Homeland Security. We spoke to Dillz about this most unlikely of hip-hop beefs.
How did you discover your website had been hacked by ISIS sympathizers?
A kid had messaged me on SoundCloud saying, “Hey, I checked out your website and someone hacked your stuff.” I checked it and that’s exactly what happened.
Had your website ever been hacked before?
No, never. We have to drop it, it’s directed to my Facebook page right now. I have to get on the phone with all these security companies and had to speak with people from the government. They had already knew that it happened, and that was the trippy part.
The government knew your site was hacked?
Yeah. My friend’s fiance works for homeland security and people who were on my page were freaking out. A lot of people were telling me to contact [homeland security], and when I called them they said, “Oh, the Jewish rapper? We heard about that already.” I think those people more-so are not trying to contact me, but figure out the people behind it and where they’re operating out of.
Do you think this has anything to do with the “No More War” song you released earlier this year, or were you targeted for being Jewish?
I think it’s a combination of both because of what they do. Obviously, that’s the most recent thing that they’ve did. I’m sure they didn’t know who I was before, but if you’re looking up “kosher” or other Jewish-oriented stuff. They’ve attacked other Hillel sites, like a Florida rugby team. What ISIS believes in, Sharia Law and raising the black flag, covers all kinds of spectrums besides killing off Americans and Israelis.
It was a crazy thing to happen to me, and it’s happening to more people, but a lot of people are reaching out to me saying, “This is really good for you!” It’s not really good for me, it’s messing up my business. People are afraid to interact.
Have you faced similar anti-semitism over the years?
Yeah, for sure. It’s an interesting thing because I’m white, with an Eastern European background, but I face anti-semitism from white people and then you can also get it from within, just being different and taking the kind of name that I took. There’s a lot of controversy in that world, especially in hip-hop which was created out of oppression and created by African-Americans to come out of that. Hip-hop was a way for me to come out of my own oppression against myself and speak for other people. That’s why I make the kind of music I make.
It’s interesting, a lot of Jewish people are behind the scenes in music, and there’s not many people that have taken the stance that I have as a rapper. By being who I am, I’ve blocked myself from certain things, but it’s opened a lot of doors too.
How did you pick the name Kosha Dillz?
I literally got it off the jar at the super market. When I was 17, I was learning how to rap from Yak Ballz, a great rapper who was Persian-Iranian and our parents knew each other. I knew I was a Jewish rapper and that’s what I wanted to represent at the time, and it was completely ridiculous. I entered [famed New York rap battle] Bragging Rites as “Kosher Dill.”
When I went into battles [after] I became “KD Flow,” because I was really embarrassed by the whole Jewish thing. I was really embarrassed and hated it, but when I got out of lock-up in ’04 and released a record in ’05, I thought it was time to really rock with [Kosha Dillz]. I also got off drugs and it was a way to get out of a lot of self-hatred.
How has the response been to “No More War?”
It’s been mostly good. The story behind it is we got this video of someone playing a tank like a drum that had “No More War” on it. We sampled the guy playing the tank, made a beat and rapped over it.
During the war in Israeli, it was really intense — especially if you’re Israeli, it fills your timeline. People like to comment on politics, but it’s a positive song about not having any war. It’s developed discussions people don’t like to have and have gotten very emotional over. That’s what it’s like to have family in Israel and be in hip-hop and try to explain that to people. People are like “are you Pro-Palestine or Pro-Israel?” and at the end of the day, of course I’m loyal to my family and my land, and I’m also loyal to peace and anti-Hamas.