February 27, 2007

Jeru The Damaja - The Sun Rises In The East (May 24, 1994)


This is one of those albums that jumped onto this list after I saw it on another blog. Jeru The Damaja is an artist out of New York who used to be a Gang Starr affilliate. He made his debut appearance on "I'm The Man" off of their Daily Operation album.


This means he was down with DJ Premier.


And for his first two albums, anyway, he exploited the hell out of this connection.


I don't mean that in a bad way. Some of Primo's best production work has been with the Damaja. The Sun Rises In The East may not be considered an overall classic, but it has a few songs that rank amongst the best rap songs ever. In fact, it contributed to the East Coast revival that we all experienced in the mid-90's, a movement that remained until people started listening to that "bounce" crap.


Jeru and Primo don't work together anymore. (It's still not altogether clear why, although Primo's working with the Notorious B.I.G. may have had something to do with it.) In fact, he severed ties from the entire Gang Starr Foundation (which isn't that big of a deal, since Gang Starr hasn't made an album together in three or four years). Unfortunately, Jeru's "solo" work could never compare to his militant yet nimble wordplay over a DJ Premier beat.


Huh. I just noticed that the cover of the booklet shows the Twin Towers on fire. Why the hell have I never noticed that before?


1. INTRO (LIFE)
I swear to God, just once, is all I ask. Sigh.


2. D. ORIGINAL
Great beat, although it's weird that the end of this song features a vocal sample from a song that appears...later on this album. Could it be that Jeru mastered the art of time travel? (Probably not.)


3. BROOKLYN TOOK IT
And if you want it back, you'll have to ask really fucking nicely. A donation may be in order.


4. PERVERTED MONKS IN THA HOUSE (SKIT)
Oddly, not from the Nicolas Cage film of the same name.


5. MENTAL STAMINA (FEAT AFU-RA)
I've never been a big fan of Afu-Ra. It may stem from the fact that he stole my balloons right out of by balled up fist at the county fair when I was five. Or maybe I don't like his flow. I'm not sure which.


6. DA BICHEZ
I had to check that four times to make sure I spelled that ignorantly enough.


7. YOU CAN'T STOP THE PROPHET
LOVE it. My favorite Damaja song. Perfect beat and lyrics, even if they don't really rhyme. The video is cool, too.


8. PERVERTED MONKS IN THA HOUSE (THEME)
This is a first: an instrumental version of a skit.


9. AIN'T THE DEVIL HAPPY
The song itself is cool, but the only thing I remember is the sample of that creepy-ass RZA laugh.


10. MY MIND SPRAY
One of the literally millions of rap songs to sample Bob James' "Nautilus".


11. COME CLEAN
Classic. Three words: chinese water torture. If you've never heard this song, take a listen, and you'll get it.


12. JUNGLE MUSIC
Three words: DJ Premier's beat is better than the lyrics here. (Stupid word counter!)


13. STATIK
Kind of a weak way to end an album.


FINAL THOUGHTS: This was the first time I had heard this CD in a while (which is the point of this blog, if you think about it). This isn't the best CD in the world. Even some of the beats are weak. But when the beats and the rhymes click, the shit knocks.


BUY OR BURN? Buy this shit. Support real hip hop! Or at least, support the artists by buying their shit! Because Jeru doesn't have a house in the fuckin' Hamptons. (And for that matter, neither do I. Leave a comment if you like this site!)


BEST TRACKS: "You Can't Stop The Prophet"; "Come Clean"; "D. Original"


-Max

17 comments:

  1. AnonymousJune 02, 2008

    Premier's beats at its finest.

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  2. Kicking myself for not checking this album out earlier, it's excellent. Jeru sounds so comfortable just letting out these rhymes, and Premier hits some really high points throughout. 'Brooklyn Took It' is on heavy rotation on my playlist.

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  3. this album thw whole album is way better than all jeru's albums, this is his best work, it was the bes 10 dollars i spent on this album

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  4. AnonymousJune 18, 2009

    this album is one of jeru's best works, why??? because the lyrics and beats match perfectly, its to freaking bad that after wrath of the math, all of jeru's albums started to become weaker than ever

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  5. Max, I've noticed you use too much words describing some crap, but limit yourself to short crap comments upon takin on classic songs and albums (check your Illmatic and Enta Da Stage reviews).

    This album is an all-time classic.

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  6. It IS an all-time classic. But it's impossible to compare my writing today to what I was doing back in 2007, when I was trying to find my footing. You'll notice that the overall write-up is much shorter than what I'm doing now.

    I would go back and revisit these older posts, but I need to save something for the book.

    Thanks for reading!

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    Replies
    1. Book?

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    2. How about that, someone was paying attention.

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    3. Still waiting for that book, yo

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  7. One of the best albums ever, period. D. Original is just plain amazing, plus it is like a hip-hop version of Wikipedia.

    Where is homicide central? East New York.
    What is the best way to walk? Like a ninja, on the asphalt.
    Where does Jeru like to take his new friends? To the east and back again, Money.

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  8. Love this album.

    Just thought I'd point out that the vocal sample on D. Original is not actually Jeru from, it's actually Guru and it's taken from Gang Starr's "I'm The Man" ("...and also on the set from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels we got my man Jeru The Damaja")

    Peace and much respect

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  9. gotta love Max's early reviews where he used one sentence to describe each song

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  10. 'Come Clean' shall be played at this man's funeral

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  11. AnonymousJuly 21, 2014

    last 25 seconds of brooklyn took it are something special

    20 years and it gets better what an album really

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  12. "Come Clean" and "Jungle Music" are some of the best hip hop tracks ever recorded. that is all.

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  13. I feel that Jeru & Afu should've been the Group Home. That way, they could've caught wreck on the beats for both this album and Wrath of the Math. What about all them dope-ass Livin' Proof beats, you ask? They would've went to a worthier MC. You know, someone like Big Shug.

    I don't care what anyone thinks: Back then, Shug would've made a timeless classic outta them shits.

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