More and more, it seems “mazel tov” is the congratulations of choice for not just Jews, but anyone looking to wish somebody a hearty kudos. On Genius, the popular lyric site, there’s one album called “Mazel Tov” (released in 2008 by an Italian punk band named Talco). Which, great, but I wanted to see how many songs have “mazel tov” in their lyrics (or song titles). You know, for science.
And so, I set off on a deep dive to find them all and, obviously, rank them for you. Note: I only looked at songs in English (there are so many in French, weirdly). Without further ado, from best to worst (you can listen along on with our ‘mazel tov’ playlist on Spotify):
1. I Gotta Feeling – The Black Eyed Peas
Fill up my cup (drank) / Mazel tov! (L’chaim!)
Thank you, Black Eyed Peas, for creating the ultimate bat/bar mitzvah song. Do you think they knew when they wrote this song that it would be played at every single bar and bat mitzvah until the end of time? That thousands of 13-year-old Jewish kids would shout, “Fill up my cup, drank / mazel tov, l’chaim” in unison? We may never know.
ALSO, cementing its status as number 1, this is the song that inspired the now-iconic “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah” novelty song from 30 Rock. According to an oral history of the song, showrunner Robert Carlock explains, “This was around the time — what’s the Black Eyed Peas song where they have ‘mazel tov’ in there? It just felt like they were clearly just trying to get played at bar mitzvahs. And I thought Tracy would have his own take, but not really understand the event, and try to double down on the Halloween novelty song — combine the two.” Thus gifting us with a spooky, scary (and deep) jam we know and love.
2. JAP Battle (Reprise) – Rachel Bloom & Rachel Grate (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend)
It’s a head-to-head yasher koach mazel tov off!
Oops, I already wrote a whole article on this song. But this one line takes the number two spot because of the clever wordplay of “yasher koach” (essentially ‘good job’) combined with “mazel tov.” I miss you, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend!!!
3. Jay Z (x3)
Jay Z uses “mazel tov” in his raps surprisingly often! Okay… it’s just three times, but still. There was even a whole “controversy” around the 2016 election when right wing commentators accused him of rapping about throwing “mazel tov cocktails” at the police at a Hilary Clinton event. (He was saying molotov cocktails; the mazel tov/molotov is actually a frequent rhyme, as we’ll get to later.)
No, we have no idea what a "mazel tov cocktail" is.
— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) November 7, 2016
The actual times he rapped “mazel tov” include 2007’s “Roc Boys (And The Winner Is)…,” where he raps, “rich n****s, black bar mitzvahs / mazel tov, it’s a celebration bitches, l’chaim / I wish for you a hundred years of success.” Love the use of both “mazel tov” and “l’chaim” in the same phrase. Plus, “it’s a celebration bitches” is exactly what every preteen thinks at their bat mitzvah. Even though he pronounces “mazel” as “mozel,” it’s still great.
There’s also 2011’s “New Day” by Jay Z & Kanye West, where Jay raps, “So at 13 we’ll have our first drink together / black bar mitzvahs, mazel tov, mogul talk.” Honestly, clever use of 13, first drink, bar mitzvahs, and mazel tov.
And last but not least, the Beyoncé and Jay Z track “SALUD!” which I couldn’t listen to BECAUSE I DON’T HAVE TIDAL, I’M SORRY BEYONCÉ. But, according to Genius, there’s a Jay Z line that goes, “Mazel tov, gold bottle talk, wife got a model walk.”
(Jay Z also featured prominently on our ‘Rapping About Jewish Lawyers: a History’ list.)
4. Omigod You Guys — Legally Blonde: The Musical
Dear Elle, honey, mazel tov!
This is the song that actually inspired me to Google all the songs that use mazel tov (yes, I listen to the Legally Blonde musical soundtrack, what of it?), so it deserves the fourth spot on this list.
5. Spa Day — Le1f
The hook in this song includes the line, “Ooh la la, mazel tov. What can I say?” And it’s so fun. Khlaif Diouf, known by his stage name Le1f, is a gay rapper; he told The Fader in July 2012, “I am gay, and I’m proud to be called a gay rapper, but it’s not gay rap. That’s not a genre. My goal is always to make songs that a gay dude or a straight dude can listen to and just think, This dude has swag. I get guys the way straight rappers get girls. I’m not preachy. The best thing a song can be called is good.” And “Spa Day” is gooooood. (Side note: You may know Le1f from the accusations that Mackelmore ripped off his song “Wut” for “Thrift Shop.”) (Also, he has the handle @khalif on Instagram, hella impressive.)
This song was my favorite discovery in writing this entire list.
6. Congratulations — Drake
Aunty Doe, tell ’em I deserve a mazel tov
How could our favorite Jewish rapper Drake — who threw himself a bar mitzvah-themed birthday party – not make this list!? It would’ve been better if this song was called “Mazel Tov,” not “Congratulations,” but we’ll let it slide. (Shockingly there is no “mazel tov” in his song “HYFR” where he gets re-bar-mitzvahed and there’s so much Judaism. Missed opportunity, Drake!!!)
7. Tevye’s Dream — Fiddler on the Roof
A blessing on your head, Mazel Tov, Mazel Tov
To see a daughter wed, Mazel Tov, Mazel Tov
And such a son-in-law like no one ever saw
The tailor Motel Camzoil, Motel
A worthy boy is he, Mazel Tov, Mazel Tov
Of pious family, Mazel Tov, Mazel Tov
Obviously. Is this the best known use of “mazel tov” in a musical? Should it have ranked above “Omigod You Guys”? YOLO.
8. How Many Mics — Fugees
Run through Crown Heights screaming out, mazel tov! / Problem with no man; before black, I’m first human
This is from the Wyclef Jean verse; the song was released in 1996, only five years after the Crown Heights riot. According to the Genius annotation on the lyric, “This line plays up the sometimes conflicting relationships between diverse communities in poorer areas of New York during this period; in spite of this, per the following line, Wyclef (himself a black man) is saying he doesn’t have an issue with other ethnic communities, even in an area notorious for its ethnic tensions.”
9. FALLEN Part 2 — Jaden Smith
And we working with our egos and we know that’s colossal / And then we’ll brush our love out the dust of the hills, like a fossil / I promise, Mazel Tov for the commas/ At least my apologies aren’t as poor as my partners’
I don’t really get this lyric. I even added more context for you, but it doesn’t quite help. It’s a spoken word part of the song that sounds just like one long run-on sentence. But, I really enjoy the visual that Jaden Smith is congratulating someone for their use of commas!
10. Death Shark — Lakutis
Jewish Eddie Murphy in your barbershop / Mazel Tov / molotov / hot girl / drop it like its hot
Lakutis, whose real name is Aleksey Weintraub, is a Russian Jewish rapper from New York (his parents left Soviet Russia for Israel, and then moved to Queens.)
Im just a old russian jewish from new york city
— Aleksey Weintraub (@LAKUTIS) January 29, 2015
This track seems to imply he’s a Jewish Eddie Murphy. He often retweets @YiddishProverbs on his Twitter, and said in an interview in 2014, “I feel like I rap good, I look good, and I do weird stuff, but in a good way. I’m a nice, fun Jewish boy, ready to marry your daughter.” FUN FACT, according to Wikipedia: He’s toured with #5 mazel tov rapper, LE1F. The more you know!
The song “Death Shark” is hypnotic, albeit very weird, and it’s not on Spotify but you can listen here:
11. Crazy Kids — Kesha (ft. will.i.am)
I’m buzzin’ off these bubbles, I sip and then I guzzle / I’m the n***a that says mazel tov, I bring the trouble
This seems to be a meta reference to “I Gotta Feeling,” which, lol. And yes, this lyric is by will.i.am., but I’m still using this space to write about Kesha and PRAYING. Sorry not sorry!!!! Kesha has recently had a major moment. Did you see her performance of “Praying” at the 2018 Grammys?! Or hear the song she wrote inspired by RBG?!
I just really want her to succeed!!!
12. I’m On One — DJ Khaled
This is a celebration bitches / mazel tov
Essentially the same line as Jay Z on “Roc Boys,” still deeply enjoyable. Also when you type that lyric into Google, this Justin Bieber Instagram comes up:
“Celebration bitches Mazel tov” — Justin Bieber, 2015.
13. Pretty Fly (for a Rabbi) — Weird Al Yankovic
People used to scoff, now they say ‘Mazel tov!’
And on a totally different note, here’s Weird Al singing about rabbis. I will now use this space to remind you that Weird Al is not Jewish. Which is surprising to me every time I think about it.
14. That Feeling (Beat the Game) — Sammus
Poppin bottles on the ship / Like Mazel Tov
There’s nothing really special about this song (it sounds like a video game, which I think is the point), but the artist, Sammus, is a female rapper! Our first woman rapping “mazel tov!” HISTORIC! She also writes in the Genius annotation on the song that “Mazel tov is a Jewish phrase used to express congratulations for a happy and significant occasion or event.” We stan an artist who does her research!!!
15. Voice Mail #3 — Rent
We’re all impressed that the riot footage made the nightly news / Even your father says mazel tov / honey, call him
Weirdly the version that Spotify is giving me is the Rent Live! version, which was a shanda and not actually live. But anyway, this is not quite a song, rather a memorable use of “mazel tov” because it’s wrapped in Jewish guilt (Mark’s parents telling him to call as they congratulate him).
16. Ghost — Prof
The last one who’s underrated who yet hasn’t made it / Anyway, mazel tov
I don’t love the song, but this feels like a passive aggressive use of “mazel tov,” which I feel is how I often use the phrase, so I’m here for it.
17. Mazel Tov — Akil Omari
I’m not sure why this song is called “Mazel Tov,” but it’s actually decent compared to the other songs called “Mazel Tov” on this list, so it gets the number 17 slot. (The rest are at the bottom of the list.) Mazels, Akil!!!
18. 100K – Tinie Tempah
Mazel tov, cash in hand Bar Mitzvah
Just a very straightforward description of a bar mitzvah: wishing a kid mazel tov, giving him a check (of $18 or some increment of chai). This lyric is found in the verse by Tinchy Stryder. Not on spotify, but you can listen here:
19. We Them — Preme ft. A$AP Rocky
I caught a case and I’ll beat the case / Jewish lawyers, we need that / Yellin’ ‘Mazel tov’ on my seat back / And a super ho on her knee caps
As we wrote last time we wrote about this song, “Okay one: his pronunciation of ‘mazel tov’ is definitely wrong. Two: yikes, misogyny! Three: this lyric means (I think) he’s currently on trial, but his Jewish lawyers will get him off.” I stand by it!
20. Cook It Down (Freestyle) — Pusha T
Rap shit’ll drive you crazy, it done drove Shyne Jew / Mazel tov, now I’m hotter than a Molotov
This is an interesting lyric. In the first part, he’s referring to rapper Shyne, who was born Jamal Michael Barrow. Do you know Shyne? He has a super interesting story: Shyne is Belizean whose dad is Dean Barrow, the current Prime Minister of Belize. Don’t worry, this gets more wild. As a kid, he moved to Flatbush, Brooklyn, to live with his mom, where he became a rapper and musician. As a teenager, he was interested in Judaism (a NYT profile writes, “At 13 (bar mitzvah age, [Shyne] notes) he began to identify himself as ‘an Israelite,’ a sensibility reinforced after finding out his great-grandmother was Ethiopian; he likes to wonder aloud whether she might have been Jewish”).
In 1999, he was involved in a nightclub shooting while out with Jennifer Lopez and Sean Combs, and in 2001, he was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison. While in prison, he informally converted to Orthodox Judaism and legally changed his name to Moses Michael Levi Barrow in 2006. (He converted for real in Israel, later.)
He now lives as Moses Levi, an Orthodox Jew, in Jerusalem. “My entire life screams that I have a Jewish neshama,” he said, referring to the Hebrew word for soul.
ANYWAY, all this is to say, Pusha T thinks that rap made Shyne go crazy and become a Jew. But in the next line he says mazel tov, congratulating him?!? Who knows. I’m now down a really deep rabbit hole of Shyne profiles. Bye!
21. 1996 — Shane Moyer
Fake ass people probably chilling out with Santa Claus / Me, I’m yelling Mazel Tov: L’Chaim!
This seems to be a Jewish kid who moved to LA to try to make it as a rapper. Good luck, dude!
22. Mazel Tov — Chanel West Coast
This is another female rapper, who is Russian, Jewish, and English. The chorus is just her sing-rapping “mazel tov” and “spend it all.” It’s not great.
23. Mazel Tov – The Elephant in the Room
We ain’t even Jewish but the crew is screaming ‘mazel tov’
“Mazel tov” repeats throughout the chorus. This is off an album called “Fucking Fuck Fuck Fuck.” I have nothing else to say.
24. Mazel Tov — Calvin Valentine
There are like no lyrics in this song besides “let’s make a toast.”
25. Mazel Tov Cocktail — A Class Act
Ah yes, another play on the mazel tov/molotov cocktail. Very pop punk.
26. Mazel Tov — Adebisi Shank
I’m running out of things to say about these songs. I didn’t like this one.
27. Mazel Tov Cocktail — Furiosa
I mean is it possible they actually just meant to call this Molotov cocktail??
28. Mazel Tov — Abel
The first and only on the list to actually sample “Hava Nagila.” No, the song is not in English. Yes, I said I would just do English songs, but I love how he says “mazel tov” in this. I don’t even know what language it is, to be honest.
I’ve now listened to way too many mazel tov songs, so I think I’m going to end the list here. To all you who made it through: mazel tov!