Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Jeru The Damaja "The Sun Rises In The East" (The Source, 8/94)


"It's evident, even to idiots, that this thing called hip-hop has been afflicted by a flood of mediocrity disguised in Karl Kani jean-suits, accessorized with cellulars and Saturday Night Specials. As a result, cynicism has strained the acceptance of happy-go-lucky formulas that worked for artists just six months ago. But as the hip-hop stakes have been raised to demand more pure rhymes and rhythms, Jeru The Damaja has stepped up to the challenge, his long-awaited debut with him. A long-time member of the Gang Starr crew, D. Original Dirty Rotten Scoundrel has rhymed on cuts such as "I'm The Man" and, most recently, "Speak Ya Clout." But the real truth came with the evolution of Jeru's first solo single, "Come Clean," from underground secret to bonafide hip-hop classic. A testament to his talent, Jeru balanced "mass appeal," respectability and longevity, without compromising shit. While his name isn't on the front cover, producer DJ Premier is as essential to this album as Jeru himself. Primo is already a legend in the beat field for his tracks with Gang Starr, Mobb Deep, Nas, etc, but with Jeru he goes further against the grain with a collection of simple but dense beats. He uses flutes, harmonic discord, bugged-out sound effects, even static to fill in his compositions. The music is more abstract than anything you'd hear on his Gang Starr record, but the gamble works. Throughout the album, you remain mesmerized while Primo cuts and scratches like a spit-out razor." Check out the visuals to D. Original and more, cont'd below...


"As for Jeru, the music both contrasts and compliments his disjointed flow and deep poetical lyricism. Like a portrait in rebellion, Jeru is frighteningly nonchalant with his punch lines and philosophizing. All of the tracks are ill, but the stand-outs include "D. Original," "Come Clean" and "Da Bitchez." The masterful metaphors of "Can't Stop The Prophet" have Jeru (in the guise of a super-hero) chasing the personification of Ignorance, as his agents: Deceit, Anger, Despair and Animosity conspire to destroy him by cutting off his dreds and poisoning him with pork chop venom. But the most powerful cut on the album is "Ain't The Devil Happy." Primo combines violins with kick drums and an evil laughter hook that sounds like it was sampled in hell... While only 10 cuts, The Sun Rises In The East is short but well worth the money for those who think they can handle Jeru's mindspray. This is not happy music, there is no G-Funk involved, and you must pay attention."