Jeru the Damaja
Wrath of the Math


3.5
great

Review

by STOMP THE MUDS USER (5 Reviews)
June 28th, 2007 | 17 replies


Release Date: 1996 | Tracklist


"This album was created to SAVE hip-hop and the minds of the people who listen to it."

During the early 1990s, it seemed like there was an endless stream of excellent hip hop coming out. Wu-Tang Clan, Nas, A Tribe Called Quest, Black Moon, Gang Starr, Mobb Deep and many others all dropped some of the best albums of that time (or even their career). The one that sticks with me most, though, is Jeru's 1994 debut The Sun Rises in the East. I don't know what it is about it that I like so much; perhaps it's DJ Premier's wonderfully dark samples and musk-filled beats. Maybe it's the Damaja's lyricism and seemingly effortless flow. Although Jeru isn't nearly as skilled as some of his contemporaries, he makes up for it with an album's worth of solid material, something that Nas and Black Moon couldn't seem to accomplish with their respective albums.

Fastforward two years and we have Kendrick Jeru Davis, otherwise known as Jeru the Damaja, releasing his sophomore effort to the world, Wrath of the Math. Here we find the self-described Prophet of Hip Hop picking up from where he left off, acquiring the help of DJ Premier once again. However, things have obviously begun to change in Jeru's precious world; the mafioso style has gained popularity, resulting in legions of flashy, whack emcees such as Puff Daddy who value entrepernurual endeavors over artistic credibility. He even figuratively describes at length in "One Day" how Bad Boy Records and Foxy Brown 'kidnap' hip hop, stating "It's all about dough".

Throughout Wrath of the Math, Jeru is quick to remind us of his 'conscious' approach to music, often through frustratingly boring pseudo-narratives that are disguised as metaphorical (see last paragraph). "Not Tha Average" finds us wrapped in stories of sexual encounters, as the protagonist finds himself in unfavorable situations with several women. Perhaps this is an attempt to identify easily manipulated, stereotypical promiscous men. Whether it is or not, Jeru falls flat with uninteresting delivery and the repetition of the phrase "I'm not ya average nigga". Elsewhere, you can find sequels to songs from The Sun Rises in the East, including "Revenge of the Prophet (Part 5)", "Me and the Papes" and "Physical Stamina", which features excellent mic work from both Afu-Ra and the Damaja.

What stands out the most here though is the production work, courtesy of the infamous DJ Premier. Whereas The Sun Rises in the East sounded like a much darker and mysterious Illmatic, Premier seems to to have improved his game and originality, assembling aspects of several different genres and artists such as Miles Davis, James Brown, Esther Phillips, Ahmad Jamal, Pink Floyd, and Curtis Mayfield. These samples, coupled with hypnotic beats and scratching, create a peculiar atmosphere that is hard to pinpoint to one specific feeling. Because of this ambiguity, Wrath of the Math covers a wide variety of tones and moods.

Wrath of the Math is a solid but flawed album worthy of respect. Despite this, Jeru the Damaja wanted to be the savior of hip hop, but sadly wasn't capable of accomplishing a mission of such caliber. Did Jesus Christ record a few dope tracks and get nailed to a cross?


user ratings (46)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Tyler
Emeritus
June 28th 2007


7926 Comments


look at that, you got it started aaaaaand finished.

Fort23
June 28th 2007


2475 Comments


Excellent review, though I don't know, I'm not big on this.

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
June 28th 2007


2806 Comments


I'll never understand how you get so much information across in so few words.

blackmilk
June 28th 2007


584 Comments


Excellent review, though I don't know, I'm not big on this.


If you can pretend to like Metal Machine Music, it probably isn't hard to so with this.

Zebra
Moderator
June 28th 2007


2647 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The Sun Rises in the East is his best but this is still good stuff. I agree with this review for the most part, DJ Premier is fantastic.

Fort23
June 28th 2007


2475 Comments


[QUOTE=blackmilk;1487899]If you can pretend to like Metal Machine Music, it probably isn't hard to so with this.
[/QUOTE]

Wow you hate me...
no but a)i don't pretend to like MMM b)i wouldn't pretend to like this, in fact I like it just not a lot and i like the sun rises in the east better.
Sorry if i sound like an asshole cuz i probably do

La Revolucion
June 29th 2007


1060 Comments


Did Jesus Christ record a few dope tracks and get nailed to a cross?

No man Jesus Christ is still recordin dope tracks today yeah!

blackmilk
June 29th 2007


584 Comments


You should hear his mixtape. It's bangin.

La Revolucion
June 29th 2007


1060 Comments


Oh I would but the RIAA crucified him for breaking copyright laws with it.

smokersdieyounger
July 22nd 2007


672 Comments


great review, dont have any of Jeru's records yet. Although I really love all the other artists you mentioned.

Aficionado
August 22nd 2007


1027 Comments


Sorry if i sound like an asshole cuz i probably do


If only the author would write that after all of his comments.

Fort23
August 22nd 2007


2475 Comments


cool Im an author. i like this more now.

Aficionado
August 23rd 2007


1027 Comments


I meant the author of the review, I ain't dogging you ;).

HalfManHalfAmazing
November 15th 2010


565 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Enjoy this effort as well, not as good as The Sun Rises In The East though

HalfManHalfAmazing
November 21st 2010


565 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ya Played Yaself is easily one of Premo's worst beats.

porch
August 20th 2011


8460 Comments


love the esther phillips sample in 'whatever' and that one mobb deep song

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKzJjd9MGps

suppatime
August 30th 2013


440 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is dope and i actually liked Not Tha Average



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