Jeru the Damaja
The Sun Rises in the East


3.5
great

Review

by GeorgeNelson USER (21 Reviews)
February 1st, 2013 | 13 replies | 2,389 views


Release Date: 1994 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Jeru is irresponsible sexually, but he won't shoot you. Here, his vocals, content and backing mix consistently, but not sharply.

1 of 2 thought this review was well written

For the most part, ‘The Sun Rises In The East’ pulls off its socio-conscious approach. It’s a difficult thing to achieve – A Tribe Called Quest did; Immortal Technique didn’t. The problem with educational hip-hop is that it can be intense in the wrong way. Jeru The Damaja doesn’t escape this hitch entirely, but ‘The Sun Rises In The East’ is a confident union of slammin’ beats and strict lyricism.

Jeru is a didact. To write educational rap that people actually want to hear is challenging, but he does it well. His vocals are a bit odd: they’re almost spoken but maintain rhythmic patterns; this fits the broader sound of the album perfectly. He isn’t making spoken-word here; he wants mature but rugged hip hop. His disjointed delivery doesn’t stray dangerously far from the head-nodding, but provokes thoughtfulness.

This is the tone of ‘The Sun Rises In The East’: Jeru exploits (and I mean that in the best possible way!) the benefits that hip hop gives: it is, among other things, an outlet for attitude, and Jeru has plenty. He’s not an over-the-top preacher; he’s a rapper with a message – something that doesn’t get old! Like A Tribe Called Quest, he’s a cool good-guy – we let ourselves like him.

While he does philosophize – “One day I got struck by knowledge and self” (Can’t Stop The Prophet) - he doesn’t abandon jaunty boastfulness. He’s a clever guy, but he’s still a guy. ‘Come Clean’ demonstrates this engaging juxtaposition – he’s moralizing, but he’s chilling.

“I’ve accumulated honeys all across the map
Cos I’d rather buss a nut
Than a cap in ya back”

Jeru is irresponsible sexually, but he won’t shoot you. This all conveys a sort of easy intelligence. What’s more, he and Premier have a real knack for swinging choruses; the same track proves that. His backing throughout is hypnotic and fits the character of the album perfectly. Black Moon’s ‘Enta Da Stage’ was an incredible East Coast effort, but always felt out of control. (Maybe that was the point.) ‘The Sun Rises In The East’ slots music and vocals together with precision and consistency. Premo offers beats that counter-balance the intensity of Jeru’s rhymes: the ‘Perverted Monks’ skits pause the poetry very, very well, giving us a chance to breathe.

Having said this, there are pitfalls. In general, he does tackle intellectual topics ably. However, ‘Can’t Stop The Prophet’ all feels a bit contrived; it’s an OTT parade of the spiritualist Jeru. To take the same vein of criticism – to attack individual, misfit tracks – ‘Ain’t The Devil Happy’ doesn’t fit the overall sound. But, there’s a bigger problem. While Jeru and Premier exhibit surprising compatibility, there aren’t enough highlights. The album is consistent but, and I hate to say this, a bit boring in places. I was really, really close to giving this a 4/5, but tracks like ‘D. Original’ don’t have enough edge. This is the crux: it’s a wicked album when it hits, but it doesn’t hit enough.



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4.2
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Comments:Add a Comment 
GnarlyShillelagh
Staff Reviewer
February 1st 2013



5923 Comments


why the fuck are you talking about vocals in a hip hop review like what does that even mean

GeorgeNelson
February 1st 2013



45 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Haha chill out, I mean his delivery - his voice. Is that all you've got to say?

YankeeDudel
February 1st 2013



9291 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

klassic new yawk i bet hillaryclithead hasnt even heard this

Digging: Ravi Shankar - Three Ragas

bloc
February 1st 2013



34499 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

bloc the damaja

Digging: He Is Legend - I Am Hollywood

MikeC26
February 1st 2013



3078 Comments


Nice review. Pos

GeorgeNelson
February 3rd 2013



45 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

thanks man

GnarlyShillelagh
Staff Reviewer
February 4th 2013



5923 Comments



vocals, dip shit! surprise haha he wasnt talking about the drums!


idk why but I lol'd at this

And agreed new layout sucks

MikeC26
February 10th 2013



3078 Comments


My man had a chick and he thought she was finger lickin' I knew her style that's why I'm vegetarian



YankeeDudel
July 20th 2013



9291 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

DAMAJA

Cygnatti
July 20th 2013



20022 Comments


never even heard of this guy

Digging: Lo-Fang - Blue Film

Havey
July 20th 2013



9314 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

educate yourself bitch

Digging: Tim McGraw - Not a Moment Too Soon

Cygnatti
July 20th 2013



20022 Comments


after meat puppets and popul vuh :/

and by meat puppets, I mean teenager(s) because I listen to that track like 3x more than any other
track. edit: scratch that, my older brother demands that I listen to homogenic right now!

DikkoZinner
February 6th 2014



1708 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

1 of the best

Digging: Morpheus Descends - Ritual of Infinity



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