Don’t mess with Kosha Dillz.
The New York City rapper and comedian is fighting antisemitism and the outrage of the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attacks on Israel with rhymes, beats, humor — and a tough embrace of his heritage.
“This event changed my life. It changed everybody’s life, but I feel it especially changed mine,” the dual-citizen Israeli-American performer told Fox News Digital in an interview on Monday near his home in Brooklyn.
He wore a “FREE OUR HOSTAGES” sweatshirt and a chain with a pair of pendants, a Star of David plus a topographical map of Israel set around a blue diamond.
Yet Dillz said he watched with dismay as some performers, including friends, scrubbed their Israeli identity or Jewish faith from their social media profiles in the days after the attack.
“I didn’t retreat. I leaned into it. I said, ‘Not on my watch.’ I’m not going to be quiet. In fact, I’m going to be a little bit louder.”
Dillz, whose given name is Rami Even-Esh, was born and raised in New Jersey to a Romanian father and Polish mother whose families survived the Holocaust.
His family still has a home in Kiryat Tiv’on, in northern Israel.
“See I used to get punched in the face/But now I do the punching,” Dillz raps in “Bring the Family Home,” a viral hit he wrote and recorded on Oct. 7 itself, following a performance that day at a California music festival.
“My family heated because most of us died in the ovens.”
Dillz has achieved notoriety as a street rapper, freestyle performer and social-media celebrity over the past 15 years, with more than 115,000 followers on Instagram alone (@koshadillz).
He performed on stage with superstar rapper Fat Joe in Denver in 2021 and appeared as himself as a playable video-game character alongside Snoop Dogg and Drake in “NBA 2K11.”
“Always outspoken about Israel,” Dills said — and his work has now taken on new power and purpose after the Oct. 7 terror attacks.
“Bring the Family Home” is a fearless embrace of his culture and his faith, even as a non-practicing Jew.
“I put the yarmulke on; not even religious with it,” he raps in the song.
The terror attack, and the responses to it, forced him to confront the fact that groups he once publicly supported had abandoned his people in their time of need.
“I marched for BLM/I marched for Ukraine/But this time me and my people in the Negev need rain,” he raps in “Bring the Family Home,” referencing the parched Israeli desert.
“People let you down,” he said to Fox News Digital about BLM’s staunch antisemitic response to the Hamas attacks on Israel, noting with disdain that the organization used the image of a Palestinian terrorist paratrooper in one of its responses.
“The organization failed to represent the movement. There were plenty of Black people kidnapped or murdered on Oct. 7.”
Dillz has found a new and unexpected role in the wake of Oct. 7 as a citizen-journalist reporting from New York City, Washington, D.C., and Israel.
His man-on the-street interviews with pro-Hamas protesters have generated millions of views on social media.
He exposes many of the protesters as clueless about their cause.
“The retaliation is beyond insane,” one woman tells him, while carrying a sign decrying Israel’s “genocidal siege & war.”
She appears dumbfounded when Dillz asks what she would do if Hamas had taken one of her daughters and her grandchildren hostage.
“I would do everything possible to have them back,” she admitted.
The interview has been “liked” nearly 156,000 times on Instagram alone.
“The interviews were a fluke, really,” he said. “A combination of the stuff I’ve learned from my comedy, my improv, my freestyle rap.”
He has balanced his outrage with his humor.
He taps his comedic skills while killing some critics with kindness and sarcasm, posting his responses to antisemitic rage on Instagram.
“F— u and ur whole generation, you Jew rat,” said one angry message he received.
Dillz responded, “Jew rap, which you misspelled slightly, is an unnoticed generation of aspiring artistry.”
“You weak a– b—-,” shouts another critic.
“Trying to do more squats current to develop the score strength I deserve,” Dillz responds, both defusing the message and mocking the sender.
“But I am being lazy, appreciate the inspiration.”
Nearly 100 days have passed since the Oct. 7 attacks, forcing Dillz to take on another challenge: short memories.
“The exhaustion of the internet is real,” he said. “We still have to free the hostages. Bring the family home. I’m all about it, even three months later.”
More than 100 Israelis are still being held hostage, and nearly two dozen have died in captivity in Gaza over the past three months, according to Israeli officials, despite the well-publicized reports of hostages returning home.
Dillz intends to keep wielding the mic as a weapon.
“A big question is like, ‘Do you think your stuff changes anyone’s mind?'” he said in one talk-show appearance he posted on Instagram.
“I was like, ‘No. But it makes other people confident in finding their stuff.”