By: Ellie Parker | Features  | 

Sammy K: Still Winnin’, Still Ballin’

Atlanta is the home of many important innovations, namely Coca Cola, CNN and, more recently, Sammy K.

Born Samuel Kalnitz, Sammy K. followed the trajectory of many of his Atlanta-based, Jewish counterparts. He lived in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood, attended an Orthodox shul and went to the Jewish high school in the area. He spent two years at Yeshivat Mevaseret Tzion in Israel and a year at YU. From the outside, Sammy seemed like any other aspiring business management major. But one thing set him apart: He had dreams of becoming the first well-known Orthodox Jewish rapper.

Growing up in a home that disapproved of his affinity for hip-hop culture, Sammy had to find ways of hiding his obsession. As he put it, “it was so different than the world I was living in. I was growing up in a very strict environment and music to me was a release.” He would sneak music from Lil’ Wayne, Kanye West, Wiz Khalifa, Mac Miller and Ludacris and began to form his own specific style: rap that encompasses a unique sense of storytelling and upbeat sound. For years, his peers viewed his infatuation with rap as a hobby, but Sammy aspired for more. While in Israel, Sammy dropped a couple of well-known singles including “Negatives” and “Alone,” which he dedicated to Ezra Schwartz, But his big break came last year with his single “Kosher Kosher,” which quickly circulated, gathering over 20,000 views, and helped Sammy gain notoriety as an up-and-coming young, Jewish rapper.

As momentum picked up, Sammy landed a record deal with On Point Entertainment. Upon hearing some of his tracks and communicating with Sammy’s producer, On Point Entertainment was quick to sign Sammy and assist him in releasing weekly free styles and performing shows at local Atlanta venues. This allowed Sammy to pursue his career goals while also delivering on his promise to produce fun, sophisticated and meaningful songs. His freestyles regularly receive hundreds of views and show Sammy’s natural talent for rap. They cover mainstream songs, like “Going Bad” and “Wow,” and allow for Sammy to put his own spin on these covers. Most recently, Sammy released his single “Still Winnin, Still Ballin,” which upped Sammy’s views to over 2,000, showing his fans that he is ready for the world to hear his flow.

I went to high school with Samuel. Though he hadn’t yet signed any record deals or written any hits, there was no doubt he would be big one day. His confidence was tangible and his swagger unparalleled; he knew he could take the world by storm. This infectious ambition is still very much apparent in Sammy’s commitment to his craft and his values, always leaving his fans wanting more. It is no longer a matter of “if” Sammy K will make it in hip-hop. We are merely waiting for the “when.”


Photo Caption: Sammy K

Photo Credit: Sammy K