Israeli Rapper Tuna is a Master of Nostalgia

Tuna’s track גם זה יעבור – “This Too Will Pass” is a trip down Israeli 90s memory lane. In keeping with a well worn tradition of male Israeli singers, the song’s tone and timber is depressing as fuck, sort of. However, if you read the translation below, what’s remarkable is how much Israeli nostalgia is firmly rooted in the West. Any American or European will understand the vast majority of the references. Here is the translation, provided by YouTube user livni2 in the song’s comments:

They found a time to break your heart out , eh?
And the world turns around as if nothing , eh?
What can I tell you? lets see… No, I have no clichés to throw in any case ,
If it hurts , then it hurts. I’m here , if you’d like to drink, to pour your heart out ,
Its hard to see you fade, And listen maybe its too soon to go dirty ,
Maybe you’ll get back together, maybe a wedding … Actually fuck it, bitch
Come on , they should know it hurts, (Former Israeli PM Shimon?) Peres also got his heart broken once,
A Man, with what does he have to contend? Feeling of guilt , pity, a lonely heart ,
I understand its a little hard to cheer up, but I checked the statistics and listen,
This too shall pass. – like Kinley (Toxic Israeli Orange Soda), like techno, like crocs
This too shall pass – like film, like (Has-been Israeli actor) Lior Miller, Samantha Fox,
This too shall pass – like the disks (CDs), like the Walkman, you’ll soon see …
Time heals everything, it heals everything. If not all, then most and this too shall pass …

And the days pass slowly, Its suddenly the hardest on Shabbat,
Suddenly a mass of advice, everyone became professors of feeling bad,
Look at the half full glass. I poured in it a little whiskey, it will hold for an hour,
I have no advice, for who I am? you’re smart, you realize its temporary,
Right, you’ll remain a little scarred,
Life is not Saranga (singer who waxes), not everything is smooth,
How did Haza”l (“Ḥakhameinu Zikhronam Liv’rakha” – חכמינו זכרונם לברכה, “Our Sages, may their memory be blessed”), say? love will eventually arrive and in the end you’ll say ‘mazal’,
Until then, lay your head on a dune, in your earphones Tuna’s disc.,
I need you strong, to remind me when I’m down that

This too shall pass – like Kinley, like techno, like Crocs,
This too shall pass – like film, like Lior Miller, Samantha Fox,
This too shall pass – like discs, like the walkman, you’ll soon see …
Time heals everything, it heals everything, If not all, then most and this too shall pass …
Like the talkshow, like Napster, Soda club,
This too shall pass – like Netscape, like Blockbuster, Arutzei Zahav (old cable provider),
This too shall pass – like the Y2k bug, the tamagotchi, you’ll soon see .that
Time heals everything, it heals everything, If not all, then most and this too shall pass ….
Like Kapulsky (Old Israeli Coffee Shop), like the pouch, the TLV (nightclub),
This too shall pass – like the tyranosaurus, like grunge, land line phones,
This too shall pass – like Ruth Gonzalez (no fucking clue), Ronen Harazi (former Israeli footballer), Dana Modan (Israeli actress),
Like skinny jeans, the Taverna (tv show), Eden boyband, Eyal Barkan (Israeli trance DJ)
Like Hulk Hogan, like Hangover, Michal Zoaretz (Israeli actress), Richard Gere
Hanoch Rozen (Israeli mime), Saddam Hussein, Burekas B-films (awesome), Karin Ophir (Israeli actress)
Like Telad (Israeli production company prominent on Channel 2), like the Pog games, the Macarena, innocence
Like skates, Peter Andre, Atari consoles, the loneliness…
Time heals everything, it heals everything. If not all, then most and this too shall pass…

If you struggled through this and read all the lyrics, with your broken Sunday School Hebrew or no Hebrew at all, you’ll gain rare insight into Israel as it was 20 years ago, breaking away from the austerity of the post independence period and becoming fully enmeshed in a global consumerist economy and mindset.

The next track we’re featuring really defies translation. It’s called סרט ערבי – “Arab Movie” and refers to a time when Israel had only one television channel and no TV on Friday evenings and Saturdays. Israelis desperate for entertainment would then fire up their antennas, bolstered with metal hangers and tin foil, and try to catch Syrian and Egyptian Television, whose program at this time would usually feature very bad but often funny or over the top domestically produced movies. The lyrics, which are in the YouTube comments, are pretty much impossible to translate unless you have an intimate knowledge of Hebrew and Arabic slang. And even then, you kind of had to be there… Red_Arc on Reddit probably described it best:

For those confused – Tuna is an Israeli-Jewish rapper who often uses nostalgia in his songs. In “Seret Aravi” (Arab Movie) he pokes fun at 1980’s Egyptian movies who were quite popular in Israel at the time. He’s songs are usually very deep and profound but this song is an attempt, I think, to make something more up beat and danceable. The lyrics are light and comedic and basically about how Tuna’s gonna bring genuine rap to the ME. The cleverness, though, is in how Tuna mashed Hebrew and Arabic together in order to make Hebrew rap but with an Arabic feel to it. He sings with an Arabic accent (or at least what Israelis percieve as an Arabic accent) and adds Arabic suffixes(?) like “-iye” to Hebrew words to make them sound Arabic. He also uses some very light Arabic, some of it was borrowed by Hebrew and is very familliar to the average Hebrew ear and some less familliar and is understandable more by the context… It probably sounds lame when I explain it but it is honestly pretty clever and fun, haha.

Anyway, enough with the blah blah blah, it’s not like you fuckers read anything anyway. Don’t lie. I see the site stats. Y’all are some seriously ADD motherfuckers. Go pop some Ritalin and enjoy these videos even though they’re longer than the pap you’re used to on Snapchat or Instagram.

Enjoy though really? I don’t know why I bother sometimes.


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