Jeru the Damaja
The Sun Rises in the East


3.5
great

Review

by Sam Feldman's Rating USER (66 Reviews)
September 22nd, 2010 | 25 replies | 9,974 views


Release Date: 1994 | Tracklist


In the vein of east coast classics such as Liquid Swords and Illmatic, The Sun Rises In The East, Jeru The Damaja's debut album, depicts the constant struggles and difficult street life of growing up in the city that never sleeps. Jeru has a knack for explaining the rugged through thought-provoking lyricism over legendary producer DJ Premier's array of old school beats. Growing up in NYC has a huge impact on a young man, big enough to inflict inspiration and pain and Jeru tells his story throughout, conjuring up images of violence, sex, and theory, sometimes in the same track. While his delivery and rhymes don't quite have the knockout punch after punch that Nas or GZA unleash, Jeru holds his own enough to be considered with them as a revival of sorts for east coast rap in the 1990's.

The real highlight of the album is DJ Premier's work with the beats. His style is very old school and simple, but it does the trick in creating an atmosphere akin to the streets of Brooklyn; tough, sexy, and thumping, The Sun Rises In The East can easily be played all the way through in your stereo and quite possibly make you look more badass as you cruise down 5th Ave. This is mostly due to how light and airy Premier's beats are; the wonderful saxophone lead in "Da Bitches" (which is, you guessed it, about bitches) is soothing and easy listening, as is the underwater sounding melody of "Come Clean". The album is very transparent, as the bass is present, but doesn't overload the record with pulse; it does its job and lets Premier's sparse melodies take up most of the sound of the album. "Statik" is another example of how this works well, as there is an appropriate amount of static effects under Jeru's poisonous raps, but that's really it aside from the thin bass line that's as groovy as they come.

Unfortunately, Jeru's rhymes aren't as good as the other albums I mentioned before. He seamlessly transfers from rapping about the crime-ridden streets of NY to philosophical tidbits about how ignorance is running amok through the city ("You Can't Stop The Prophet"), yet he doesn't have the vicious bite and violent edge that makes the listener jolt back in astonishment of just how fluid and vivid the raps are. It's almost like Liquid Swords minus the rhymes that make you stop and go "wow"; his vision is clear and his raps are consistent, but there's no flashes of brilliance or lines that make you go home immediately and put them on your AIM away message (that's just me). He's good enough though, and he paints a picture that you would normally expect NYC to look like; bleak, grueling, and rough.

Regardless, Jeru The Damaja's debut is a great collection of old school rap songs to have around when you're in the need for some east coast rap that's accurate and fun. DJ Premier brings his best work to the table here, providing beat after beat of solid, underground music that goes well with Jeru's tales of the Big Apple. Don't expect an album of Liquid Swords or Illmatic quality, however as Jeru just doesn't have the wits and knockout punches that GZA and Nas have. But Jeru holds his own, and this was a great start to the revolution of east coast hip-hop in the 90's.



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user ratings (113)
Chart.
4.2
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other reviews of this album
GeorgeNelson (3.5)
Jeru is irresponsible sexually, but he won't shoot you. Here, his vocals, content and backing mix co...

somberlain (4)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Heysatan
September 22nd 2010


276 Comments


deserves a 4 imo. the beats r soo good

ShadowRemains
September 22nd 2010


20694 Comments


keep this up and you're on your way to contributor

Digging: Banks - Goddess

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
September 22nd 2010


18452 Comments


Back when hip-hop could actually be taken seriously.

Digging: Recondite - Caldera/DRGN 2

marksellsuswallets
September 22nd 2010


4848 Comments


Completely unrelated to this review but is that the World Trade Center burning in the album art?

liledman
September 22nd 2010


3826 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

shit you really do pump out the reviews man.

need to check this out.

marksellsuswallets
September 22nd 2010


4848 Comments


Maybe it's just the fact that I've spent the last five hours grasping at straws trying to interpret a stupid amount of metaphors to create some BS 10 page paper about how the Epic of Gilgamesh proves how gender roles were constantly subverted in ancient cultures, but that's striking me as interesting.

I might check this out simply for this reason.

shrapnel
September 22nd 2010


735 Comments


In the vain of east coast claassics

should be "vein" and an extra "a" in classics
the underwater sounding melody of "Come Clean"

not sure if that's the best description but maybe it's just me.
that beat is incredible though

shrapnel
September 22nd 2010


735 Comments


no prob. pos'd

the cover was because there had been a terrorist attack on the WTC a year before this album was released.
Also the reason Biggie said in his album (the same year btw) "Time to get paid blow up like the Wold Trade"

marksellsuswallets
September 22nd 2010


4848 Comments


If you're referring to the bomb in the truck underneath one of the towers I'm aware of that, but there wasn't really damage like the kind depicted on the cover. Again, my mind is just in "force relationships for no reason" mode.

shrapnel
September 22nd 2010


735 Comments


If you're referring to the bomb in the truck underneath one of the towers I'm aware of that, but there wasn't really damage like the kind depicted on the cover.

yes that's what I was referring to, in '93 a year before this and Biggie's album. I know it didn't cause that much damage but it's what "inspired" that cover an that rhyme by Biggie

AnotherBrick
September 23rd 2010


9770 Comments


hi

Skyler
September 23rd 2010


1084 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I always felt that this was a little overrated.

Gyromania
September 23rd 2010


15685 Comments


Solid review, dude. There were a few things here and there that irked me but that's just preferential. Pos.

qwe3
October 5th 2010


21362 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

dude wtf his rhymes are great.

brooklyn took it maaaan

emmy
October 5th 2010


205 Comments


light and airy sure is a weird way to describe the beats on this album

emmy
October 5th 2010


205 Comments


ur pretty dense tho

emmy
October 5th 2010


205 Comments


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Vano
November 11th 2010


94 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The beats on this cannot be tamed. Hide your shit.

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
November 11th 2010


3767 Comments


Da Bitchez makes this what it is.

Digging: Interpol - El Pintor

qwe3
November 11th 2010


21362 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

its all about jungle music



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