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Sagol 59

Sagol 59 (Born 1 October 1968) is a Jerusalem-based hip-hop MC [1]. Raised on a Kibbutz in Israel, Khen Rotem took the name Sagol 59, or “purple 59,” from his personal Kibbutz laundry bag tag[citation needed]. After his required 3 year stint in the Israeli Defense Forces, Sagol turned to music, beginning his career in blues, funk and rock before moving on to hip hop in the late 1990s[2]. Shortly after he relocated to Jerusalem, Sagol was picked up by the city’s seminal (and now defunct) indie label, Fact Records[3]

He appeared on the Israeli hip hop scene with his 2000 debut (Blue Period)[4]. He has done 5 full-length albums to date[citation needed]. He has collaborated with multiple artists.[citation needed]. He has done multiple live shows in Israel [5] and overseas (U.S[6], Europe)[7].

Within the last decade, Sagol has participated in many events alongside Palestinian and Arab musicians [8], and has performed alongside many well known artists and overseas[citation needed](Matisyahu, DJ Spooky, Kenny Mohammed The Human Orchestra, Remedy, Killah Priest, Sole of Anticon, Spearhead’s Michael Franti, Yitzchak Jordon aka Y-Love, Taskforce [9] and Israeli artists such as Hadag Nachash, Coolooloosh, Mook-e, Teapacks and many others.[10]

In 2001 he received critical praise for his groundbreaking collaboration “Summit Meeting"(feat. Tamer Nafar of Palestinian crew DAM (band) & Shaanan Streett of Hadag Nachash), the first-ever collaborative recording featuring both Israeli and Arab MCs[4]. He regularly hosts the Corner Prophets/Old Jeruz Cipher Hip Hop series[4], a cultural initiative meant to unite the diverse cultural communities located in Jerusalem through a shared interest in hip-hop[4]. By working with Corner Prophets, Sagol’s goal is to inspire a new generation of Israelis and Palestinians that turn to art, not violence, as a means to find a common ground[4].

Sagol was part of the Unity Sessions featured at the 2004 Celebrate Brooklyn concert series[citation needed]. Unity Sessions featured internationally renowned Jewish, Israeli, Muslim, and Arab musicians in hip hop and traditional Middle Eastern music[citation needed], many of whom were performing for the first time in the United States[citation needed]. The Unity Sessions was produced by JDub Records and Aliza Rabinoff[citation needed].

His first American project, 'Make Room' debuted on May 6 2008 on JDub Records[11]. Make Room features full production by the youngest producer in Israel, 16 year old Johnny Hakatan aka Little Johnny, who first came to prominence on "Chomer MiKomi," an album by Hadag Nachash. In August 2008 Sagol embarked on an American tour, performing concerts in New York, Denver, Cleveland and Los Angeles. American musician DJ Spooky has remixed Sagol's track "Leeches" for the American release of "Make Room". In March 2010 JDub Records released "Sagol Remixed 2000-2010", a digital album containing remixes, b-sides, rare and unreleased tracks, celebrating Sagol 59's decade of activity.


2000: The Blue Period (Fact Records - Israel only)[citation needed]
2002: Where Did We Go Wrong (Fact Records/MCI - Israel only)[12]
2003: Reason to Die EP (9 Records - Israel only)[citation needed]
2003: The Two Sides of Purple 59 (NMC Records - Israel only)[12]
2006: Hip-Hop Einstein (NMC Records - Israel only)[12]
2008: Make Room (JDub Records - 1st US Release){{Citation needed|date=April 2008}

2010: Remixed 2000-2010 (JDub Records - Digital Release)


  1. ^ Berman, Daphna (2005-05-04). "Rap riffs to heal the rifts". Haaretz. Retrieved 2008-04-02. 
  2. ^ Rotem, Khen (2005-05-25). "Live From Jerusalem Interview". Riot Sound. Retrieved 2008-04-02. 
  3. ^ Rotem, Khen (2006-03-09). "Hip Hop Einstein Comes to TLV". Corner Prophets. Retrieved 2008-04-02. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Wainer, David (2007-08-07). "A lyrical co-existence". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2008-04-02. 
  5. ^ Gelfand, Alexander (2006-09-08). "Hip Hop as Conflict Resolution". Forward. Retrieved 2008-04-02. 
  6. ^ Korat, Yael (2006-09-13). "A Musical Stage for Dialogues". Retrieved 2008-04-02. 
  7. ^ Girl, Challah Back (2007-10-06). "Big Beats Hit Bay Area". Retrieved 2008-04-02. 
  8. ^ Sieradski, Dan (2005-08-21). "Can Hip-Hop Heal?". Israel 21C. 
  9. ^ Lynskey, Dorian (2006-Spring). "Two Sworn Enemies and a Microphone". Guilt and Pleasure. Retrieved 2008-04-02. 
  10. ^ Hazan, Jenny (2004-10-10). "Israeli Hip-Hop Set to Rhyme". Israel 21C. 
  11. ^ Goldsher, Emily (2008-04-03). "Sagol 59 Bio". JDub Records. 
  12. ^ a b c "Discography". Israeli-Music. 2005-08-21. 


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