She's strummed strings for the best of them, viciously playing the violin under songs by Kanye West, Jay-Z, and Alicia Keys, just to name a few. Now, Miri Ben-Ari , aka "The Hip Hop Violinist," is emerging from behind the music with a self-titled solo album, which includes collaborations with Borations With Scarface, Styles P, Doug E Fresh, and many more.
Miri migrated to the U.S. from Israel to study jazz, but she instantly fell in love with hip hop after she heard the notorious B.I.G. at a party.
"I like the production of hip hop. I like the realness of hip hop. I like how people can just do whatever they want to do."
Miri played the violin under nearly every song on Kanye's debut album, and the two won a Grammy for their work on the song "Jesus Walks," which they performed at the 2004 VMAs. Soon, everyone who thought there was no room for a violin in hip hop was silenced.
"I just had to show the people over and over again until they got it, and the only way I could show it was by getting on stage and doing my thing."