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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

The Sun Rises In The East

Jeru The Damaja

1994

The Sun Rises In The East

Album Summary

The Sun Rises in the East is the debut album by American hip hop rapper Jeru the Damaja, released May 24, 1994 on Payday Records. Production on the album was handled by DJ Premier. The album features fellow Gang Starr Foundation member Afu-Ra. The album cover depicts the World Trade Center on fire only one year after the 1993 bombing of the North Tower.The Sun Rises in the East was well received by most music critics upon its release. It is considerably significant in hip hop, as it contributed to the revival of the East Coast hip hop scene, along with albums such as Wu-Tang Clan's Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (1993), Nas's Illmatic (1994), Big L's Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous (1995), Notorious BIG's Ready to Die (1994), Onyx's Bacdafucup (1993), Smif-N-Wessun's Dah Shinin (1995) and Black Moon's Enta da Stage (1993). The album has been considered by critics to be Jeru the Damaja's best work.

Wikipedia

Rating

2.99

Votes

5219

Genres

  • Hip Hop
Reviews
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Thu Feb 04 2021
5

Hard hitting samples, crisp MC delivery, strong lyricism, balance between consciousness and gangster, Brooklyn sound, album cover shows WTC in flames (in 1994!). This one hits hard. Love! Ain't the Devil Happy Da Bichez

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Wed Feb 03 2021
4

Sounds like Jay Z's granddad. I love the historicity of this album, but I also really dig the album itself. Jeru has great flow, good beats, and some truthful rhymes. This will definitely stay in my rotation for a while.

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Fri Jun 10 2022
5

Damn, I always get surprised by how much I have grown to love east coast rap. This album is very strong as a debut and as a contemporary to Illmatic, Ready to Die, and Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). I think because of how large those 3 albums are, this album and others end up getting lost in the mix, but they deserve a little retribution.

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Fri Oct 09 2020
4

I thought this album was pretty cool. It is very emblematic of early 90s hip hop but it still feels relevant today. He had a nice flow and the album was pretty smooth while still being hard hitting.

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Tue Jun 29 2021
4

Super unique and fun bars and flows. Another underrated throwback rap album that was extremely influential!

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Fri May 14 2021
4

Great early 90s NYC rap. The juxtaposition between Jeru The Damaja's easy listening and fun flows with the discordant and jarring beats makes the album still fresh today even with all the hallmarks of the East Coast rap resurgence from that era easily identifiable. I'll be coming back to this for sure.

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Thu Apr 01 2021
3

An underground classic that got lost in the mainstream due to its proximity to other major releases, notably Illmatic. A lot of it didn't age particularly well, but there's some cleverness in the beats (Come Clean) and the lyrics (You Can't Stop the Prophet, among others) that still stands up. Best track: You Can't Stop the Prophet

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Wed Apr 28 2021
3

For the most part, never heard this. I know I’ve heard samples from this though. Pretty good. I enjoy it lyrically and a lot of it still as relevant as the day written.

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Wed Feb 03 2021
2

Day 20 of Albums You Must Hear brings me the second Hip-Hop album so far, The Sun Rises In The East by Brooklyn, NY emcee, Jeru The Damaja. While the rap market was bloated and over saturated in 1994, some of the greatest acts in Rap Music, my first love, dropped their debut albums in 1994. It was a hell of a year. Ready To Die from The Notorious B.I.G., Illmatic from Nas, Creepin’ on ah Come Up from Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, The Most Beautifullest Thing In The World from Keith Murray, Tical From Method Man, Southernplayalisticcadillacmuzik from Outkast, all debut albums from icons, and thats just scratching the surface. The Fugees, Warren G and Da Brat also stepped out onto the scene. On top of all that, established artists like Snoop Doggy Dogg, Ice Cube, 8Ball & MJG, House of Pain and Hammer released music in ’94. Shit, even Shaq had a rap record, and it actually wasn’t total crap! Thats just in hip-hop, 1994 was a great year for music in general. I say all that to justify why Jeru the Damaja wasn’t really on my radar… I knew of Jeru the Damaja and saw the video for his single Come Clean on Rap City on BET and I liked it, it just didn’t stand a chance competing with the above mentioned artists for my attention. Jeru went to high school with Guru and DJ Premier of Gang Starr. When he was featured on the song I’m the Man from their album Daily Operation, doors were opened for the Brooklyn rapper. Come Clean gained a lot of traction with its gritty, authentic New York hip-hop sound. The Sun Rises In The East is entirely produced by DJ Premier. Jeru has a very clean and intelligent flow. You won’t be starved of any witty punchlines, and while the majority of the tone of this album is anti-gangster rap, he uses his distain for that part of the culture to come off pretty aggressive and violent. Jeru’s stance earned him more than a few adversaries with his colleagues at the time. I love Gangsta Rap, so while I recognize the abilities Jeru showcase in this album, its just not in my wheelhouse, as my Uncle Rick would say. Its 1994’s version of “woke music” and their were plenty of NY lyricists like Jeru the Damaja at the time. This might sound sacrilegious to other hip-hop heads, I found Coolio to have more of an impact on Rap. Side note, the cover art for this album depicts Jeru in front of a skyline of Manhattan with the World Trade Center buildings on fire and collapsing, eerie shit. In the end, I appreciate the lyricism on this album and how it stayed authentic to New York hip-hop. It may be among your favorite ’90’s rap albums, it just had way better competition in the genre at the time, in my opinion, to draw me in. With that said, Jeru the Damaja is still active even today and is passionate about his craft. No disrespect intended Mr. Damaja. Please share your thoughts, opinions and memories!!

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Mon Jan 25 2021
2

Didn't like hip-hop then. Don't like it now.

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Thu Jan 28 2021
2

The beats are often very dissonant such as ok D. Original and You Can’t Stop The Prophet. Personally, it’s not my favorite although I think it works better on YCSTP. Da Bichez is almost a good song but the lyrics are really sexist which really ruins it for me. Jeru does mention “I’m not a sexist” on My Mind Spray which honestly makes it worse. I find the hook on Come Clean annoying. That being said, most of the album is enjoyable. I don’t know enough about hip hop to get into specifics but I did like a lot of the beats and I’m sure this album was influential but I can’t help thinking that it hasn’t held as well as some other hip hop albums from that era. Favorite songs: Mental Stamina, Ain’t The Devil Happy, Jungle Music, Statik Least Favorite Songs: D. Original, Perverted Monks In Tha House, Da Bichez, Come Clean Light 5/10

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Tue Oct 06 2020
5

Jeru has formidable intelligence with a freaky-freaky flow. Preemo’s production has a cold menace that’ll make your neck snap. An Essential Combo

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Mon Jan 18 2021
5

Fantastic early-90s east-coast rap.

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Sat Jan 23 2021
5

Good shit, really enjoyed the old school NY rap vibes.

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Fri Jan 22 2021
5

Wordplay that clearly inspired all of modern rap with weirdly addictive beats

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Thu Mar 25 2021
5

Here’s to you Jeff ❤️

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Fri Feb 19 2021
5

Originale, crudo, rap preciso

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Tue May 11 2021
5

Classic new york hip hop, gritty beats, and creative samples never heard of this rapper despite being a big hip hop fan and I loved this project the mixing is really bad but I think it really adds to the aesthetic of the album almost all songs are bangers but some of the songs were not as interesting as others but were still good. 9/10

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Fri Aug 27 2021
5

I'm really surprised I've never heard of this album before because it's very much in my wheelhouse. some really clever rhymes, incredible production, and is over before you're even starting to lose interest.

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Fri Aug 27 2021
5

It's hard to beat when both a rapper and a producer are at the top of their game. If I was Guru in 1994, I'd be lowkey pissed, because DJ Premier provides an insane set of beats for this album, and the Damaja more than lives up to his end of the deal. It's dated in the ways most of the era's best boom bap is—the requisite homophobia pops up in Come Clean and "dealin' with bitches is the same old song" in more ways than Jeru likely intends—but otherwise it performs an excellent lyrical balancing act: rugged yet conscious (without feeling overly preachy), delivered in a cadence that would hold you at gunpoint if it wasn't so tired with the gangster act. It even manages to have a bit of fun, with Jeru's spin on Redman-esque superhero storytelling being too corny to take seriously yet too entertaining to dismiss. It's not too shocking that an album like this would land under the radar compared to the Ready to Die and Illmatic crime rhymes that it rebukes, but it stands alongside them as a prime example of NYC hip-hop at its finest. Key Tracks: Mental Stamina, You Can't Stop the Prophet, My Mind Spray

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Fri Aug 27 2021
5

I first heard this album years ago and wrote him off as another failed DJ Premier pet project in the vein of Group Home. After listening to this again, I have no idea what I was on because this is a fantastic album. Jeru has some real dumb lines but he says it all with such command that you can't help but go along with it, same with Premier's production. Easy 5 mics.

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Fri Oct 01 2021
5

In the top 50 of all time

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Fri Oct 22 2021
5

This record maintains the balance of the universe.

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Thu Nov 18 2021
5

I can't believe I hadn't heard this one, but it was obviously good.

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Fri Feb 25 2022
5

How have never heard this. Absolute amazing hip hop album…. I’ll revisiting this bad boy very soon!

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Mon Mar 07 2022
5

A quintessential hip hop album of the mid 90s. This album is such a great encapsulation of east coast rap with its swing beats and its elements of jazz and world music. My only criticism is some of the misogyny in the lyrics though compared to some contemporaries, this album is pretty tame. The flow is acrobatic and the lyrics are clear and often socially conscious.

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Wed Mar 09 2022
5

This is a classic, even though I personally prefer 'Wrath of the Math'. Jeru kicks esoteric knowledge and is a real rap legend. I went to see Jeru at Sub Tub in Umist in the '90s. After the show he went amongst the crowd to meet random people, even though it was mostly drunk students dancing to drum and bass. I vaguely remember seeing someone get punched in the face, but I suppose it was a rap show in the '90s.

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Wed Mar 16 2022
5

Love it - old school sound with cool and unusual samples and beats from DJ Premier plus Jeru the Damaja's unique style.

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Wed Aug 31 2022
5

Ovo je taj pravi hladni pa čak i mračni east coast klasik, 4.5, no cap. DJ Premier je napravio svoj posao kako on samo zna sa produkcijom. Esencijalan album za east coast. U ovom slučaju dajem peticu (4.5), jer ono, jeben album od glave do pete, no skips.

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Mon Sep 12 2022
5

cool

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Thu Sep 15 2022
5

This album fucking rules. If you need introduce somebody to 90s rap, do it with this album. Beats are great and interesting--I'll always for jazz-inspired beats like on Da Bichez. Lyrics are great and important, flow is great. Favorite tracks: Da Bichez, Ain't the Devil Happy. Honorable mentions to Mental Stamina and My Mind Spray

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Thu Jan 28 2021
4

Great 90s Rap from an artist I didn't know. Enjoyed the whole album.

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Sat Jan 16 2021
4

Hip-Hop classic, the instrumentals are beautifully constructed and they have that marvelous 90's feeling.

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Wed Feb 03 2021
4

I didn't think this was as good as Lauryn Hill's album but still fun to dive into old rap to see the roots of the genre

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Thu May 13 2021
4

Are those the twin towers burning in the background? Not a bad album. Great production, and lyrics are mostly a refreshing change than the really gangster-y shit at the time (the f** flambé lyric notwithstanding).

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Mon Mar 22 2021
4

underrated honestly

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Sun Apr 25 2021
4

Solid. Bold. Aggressive. I'd give a 3.5.

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Fri Mar 05 2021
4

The realness

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Sun Feb 14 2021
4

Primo, ne? Hab ich sofort gehört. Und von allem (Prä-2010er) Hiphop den wir hier bisher hatten find ich den auch am besten. Trocken, reduziert, tight und trotzdem lose, dabei mit schönem Hang ins abstrakte (Top Track: Come Clean). Kommt super nachts auf der A3. Außerdem ist Jeru natürlich einer von den Guten, wichtige Antithese zu der ganzen nihilistischen Gangsterscheisse. Klare 4.

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Thu Feb 04 2021
4

Thought the fist half was shit but then the second half was the shit.

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Thu Feb 04 2021
4

Liked it. Old school vibes and good flow.

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Wed Jul 21 2021
4

Love the unpolished gritty sound from early 90s hip hop albums. Plus this is fire and a lot of fun to listen to

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Wed May 05 2021
4

The daring tracks in the rap album with a good bit and voice.

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Sun May 09 2021
4

A+ DRS Old School Rap with catchy beats.

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Sun Jun 06 2021
4

really enjoyed it

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Mon May 17 2021
4

honestly super surprised by this album, 3 or 4 saves and overall a great listen

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Fri Jun 04 2021
4

Like Nas but without the hooks

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Thu Jul 29 2021
4

Good stuff

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Fri Aug 06 2021
4

I can’t tell if I’ve heard of this guy before or not, but the name sounds vaguely familiar. Either way, this is some excellent ‘90s NY hip hop. On first listen of course, I’m paying more attention to production, and I really love this dusty boom nap style. The lyrics I do catch are solid, and the vocal delivery is excellent too. Definitely on the higher end of the hip hop albums we’ve had on the list so far. Favorite tracks: Jungle Music, Come Clean, Perverted Monks in tha House, Statik, D. Original. Album art: Pretty standard art for this era/style of hip hop. But the twin towers burning is a surprising image. This was after a bombing in the ‘90s so it had to have been controversial then, but who could’ve known how controversial it had the potential to become? Maybe Jeru knew, y’know you can’t stop the prophet. 4.5/5

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Sun Aug 08 2021
4

Great! Really liked the album.

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Tue Aug 10 2021
4

I used to score a lot of weed and pussy simply by wearing a t shirt with Jeru on. He was my inspiration, my hero, my lover. He just had to run off with my grandmother, didn't he? He broke my heart. He broke all of our hearts.

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Fri Aug 27 2021
4

I’m a sucker for all this scratching.

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Fri Aug 27 2021
4

Jeru might be a bit intense in spots, but the album is still good.

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Fri Aug 27 2021
4

No standouts to me but good hip hop

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Wed Sep 01 2021
4

ebic hib hop

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Mon Sep 06 2021
4

The early 90's was a great time to be a hip-hop fan. You had the incredible debut of Nas with Illmatic in '94, the explosive Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) in '93, A Tribe Called Quest's jazz rap classic The Low End Theory in '91, and many more. Among all these, though, is Jeru the Damaja's debut. It's got classic east coast stylings with boom bap beats, but the interesting part is Jeru's willingness to push the boundaries on the samples. All be frank though, this is just great hip-hop. As far as I'm concerned, Jeru can hang with the rest of them. Wicked.

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Wed Sep 08 2021
4

ægte 90'er

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Mon Sep 20 2021
4

I was not familiar with the artist or any of the songs. However this was a good album and had good beats.

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Tue Sep 21 2021
4

Rude in places (Da Bichez). Catchy early Eminem type vibes. Liked it.

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Mon Oct 04 2021
4

Apparently I like old school hip hop

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Thu Oct 14 2021
4

You can see how the influenced rap music, very good album

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Wed Nov 10 2021
4

Cool, old school hip-hop. Was not familiar at all with this album but it's exactly the kind of thing I would have been into at the time. Kind of amazing what gems got lost in the pre-internet days of music discovery.

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Fri Nov 12 2021
4

Murzynskie gransko wysokich lotow, jeden z mocniejszych debiutow, pan premier na bitach i danaja na zwrotkach, to mocno bijace slonce ze wschodu, na plejce juz mam wystarczajaco trakow z plyty

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Wed Nov 17 2021
4

A hidden gem that came out in the year of hip hop, yet majorly influenced the East Coast scene. Hits hard but still has its fun, interactive moments. Album is very accessible, with funky samples and flow from track to track that is very easy to listen to. With decent tracks from start to finish, lots of creativity, a significant influence on the genre, and nothing that distracts my experience, there's no reason not to give 4 stars. Favorite tracks: D Original, Brooklyn Took It, Da Bitchez, Aint the Devil Happy, Come Clean

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Fri Nov 26 2021
4

Skemmtilegt old school

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Sun Dec 12 2021
4

Good beats, thoughtful lyrics. An era I have not explored enough of.

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Thu Dec 30 2021
4

My one negative takeaway from this song is the borderline nice-guy-ish "Da Bitchez". It's a shame, cos it's a super catchy song, just feel like the message hasn't aged super well. Aside from that, the flows are tight, the lyrics flit between conscious hip-hop and classic, and the beats are great, occasionally showing some dissonance and noisiness. I got Gang Starr earlier in the list, and I still love the beats DJ Premier puts out. Also, massive, massive shoutout to Jeru for making cool little gifs that go along with each song on Spotify. Wasn't expecting that, and it's fun as fuck. Favorite tracks: "Come Clean", "Brooklyn Took It", "Ain't The Devil Happy"

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Wed Jan 26 2022
4

Not sure how ive completely missed this but real solid '90s east coast hip hop.

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Thu Feb 03 2022
4

i'm digging this 90s rap!

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Fri Feb 18 2022
4

They don’t make rap like this anymore

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Fri Feb 18 2022
4

Poetry in rap

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Sat Feb 19 2022
4

Way better than expected, like a mix between Public enemy and Ice-T. And compared to modern rap, this is fucking Mozart. 4/5.

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Fri Mar 04 2022
4

A lot better than I was expecting.

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Fri Mar 11 2022
4

3/24/2022 Today's Album: "The Sun Rises In The East" by Jeru The Damaja - This album is really fun to listen to. I have very little experience with this era of rap, but the funky hip hop beats and fairly impressive flows throughout this project are really just a delight to the ear. It feels like the perfect music for just booling around the city and feeling like a badass with friends. The verses on these tracks are really great and seem to feature a lot of fantastic features, unless if this is just a rap group or Jeru putting on multiple voices. Anyways, There's a ton of diversity of this record and I like all of the interludes throughout the album. There's some great jazz accompaniments that boost the smooth feeling of these songs and there is just such a solid flow from track to track, with many dynamic changes in the sound, without ever feeling out of character. Other than that, it's pretty hard to review anything else about this record. I am pretty new to this genre and dont have a good frame of reference for the lyrical talent behind the record, but the grooves are smooth and theres a ton of character and talent behind the rap verses. Check it out if you like classic hip hop. The best I can compare it to is my very little knowledge of Biggie's top tracks. Score: 8/10 Enjoyed it a lot despite my lack of experience in the genre Highlights: D. Original, Da Bichez, Ain't The Devil Happy, Come Clean, Jungle Music, Statik

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Wed Mar 16 2022
4

I have to admit this is probably the first hip hop album I've listened to fully. And this one is pretty good! The lyrics can get silly at times but the beats are great and the flow is always there.

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Mon Apr 25 2022
4

Straight out of '94 east coast hip-hop. Great stuff, hazy samples and vicious flow. It's a couple of steps behind the classics of that era (Illmatice, 36 Chambers etc.) but it's well worth an inclusion. Best Tracks: D. Original; You Can't Stop the Prophet; Come Clean - E New Y Radio

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Wed May 11 2022
4

old school 90s rap 4.5

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Wed May 18 2022
4

Debut album from American rapper Jeru the Damaja (lots of the same letters in my name. It confused me at first). Produced by Gang Starr member DJ Premier. The album is credited with helping revive the East Coast hip-hop scene in the 90's along with Wu Tang, Nas, Big L and the Notorius BIG. Kind of ominous with the World Trade Center burning in the background of his album cover (the WTC had been bombed the year before). However, I did not find or interpret this album to be violent or even gansta at all. He seems to be challenging all rappers to his rhyming in a lot the these songs. And, his rhyming is great. I don't have a ton of experience in hip-hop lyrics but this guy sure seems prolific with his sheer number of lyrics per song. His non-stop lyrics are laid perfectly against hypnotic beats and weird and sometimes eerie sampling and sounds. As previously mentioned, Jeru seems to be challenging all comers to a rap-off against him and, in general, East Coast rap as in songs "Brooklyn Took it" and My Mind Spray." He goes anti-gansta in "Ain't that Devil Happy." Although he made some people (evidently The Fugees) angry thinking this to be misogynistic, one my favorite songs on the album is "Da Bichez" where he goes after a specific type of woman; those only after the money. Overall, a very well produced and recorded album. Along with the previously mentioned acts, probably a good place to start and/or experience early- to mid-90's East Coast hip-hop. I'm sure I'll be coming back to this album and scene in the near future.

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Wed May 18 2022
4

I previously had only heard of Jeru through him being sampled by DJ Shadow. This is great stuff and with the exception of one dated track really top class Hip Hop.

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Mon May 23 2022
4

Gick hårt bortsett från ett spår.

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Thu Jun 09 2022
4

Immaculate production with the weirdest early spin on the East Coast sound. Lyrics fell a little bit flat for me on first spin, though Jeru clearly created at least one elite project. Baffles me that I know nothing about this body of work.

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Fri Jun 10 2022
4

This old east coast sound is such a vibe. Fun beats and fun bars make for a fun album (if dated at times).

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Wed Jun 22 2022
4

Beats are fantastic and production tight. Rapping is fine but it really is the instrumentals that are the most enjoyable for me here.

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Wed Jun 22 2022
4

I generally don't care for most rap, but I enjoyed this album quite a bit. I would listen to this again for sure.

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Wed Jun 22 2022
4

Wow, I didn't think I was familiar with Jeru other than recognizing the name, but I actually know some of these tracks from 311 skate videos I used to watch in high school. Pretty good album; has that 90's hip hop sound and that east coast style of using dissonant samples.

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Thu Jun 30 2022
4

Solid east coast classic, unique beats and flows across the whole album. Took me a second to get into it but once I did I started loving it.

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Fri Jul 08 2022
4

Quite good, but more than a little misogynistic.

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Wed Jul 13 2022
4

One of the more lesser known but integral albums of the East Coast Rap Renaissance of the 90s, The Sun Rises in the East builds and lives up to its title with its minimal yet impactful instrumentation and potent rhymes from the original Dirty Rotten Scoundrel. Although overshadowed by what came before and afterward, this is an album that's not to be ignored and does more than it's required to hold its own. Favorites: D. Original, Brooklyn Took It, Mental Stamina, Da Bichez, You Can't Stop the Prophet, Ain't the Devil Happy, Mind Spray.

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Thu Jul 21 2022
4

Giving a 4 because the beats are excellent and Jeru sounding really entertaining on his first album. Don't really care for the homophobic line but almost every 90s rapper is guilty of this. Can't rate it higher just due to the holier-than-thou attitude that would paint his imagine in later years.

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Mon Aug 01 2022
4

Solid stuff. Super creative, great beats, compelling raps.

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Wed Aug 17 2022
4

I love this quintessential 90's rap. Im familiar with Jeru but Wrath of the Math has been my go to album. Sun Rises is definitely still really raw but the complexity and lyricism are still present - this sound is definitely way ahead of its time - you can hear a lot of this in Blackalicious, the Roots, and more modern high brow hip hop Standout Tracks: D. Original, Come clean, Da Bichez

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Wed Aug 31 2022
4

Drugi dio mi cak bolji al mislim da je cijeli album za 3.5

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Wed Sep 07 2022
4

Very cool album, quite a transitional album from early to modern hip-hop.

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Wed Sep 21 2022
4

Probably not the same target audience as a white 47 year old. But sheeeeat I dig it

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Wed Sep 21 2022
4

First listened 2016. Seminal Hip-Hop album.

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Thu Sep 22 2022
4

rhythms 8/10

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Wed Sep 28 2022
4

Pretty good. The representation of women and gay folks is a little problematic, but the flow is good and there are definitely some good lines. Nothing super catchy and single-able

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Wed Sep 28 2022
4

New to me. Would listen to it again.

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Wed Sep 28 2022
4

Very cool 90s hip hop. Really enjoyed Da Bichez

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Thu Nov 17 2022
4

I really didn't pay attention to hip hop in the early 90s. When I tried to get "caught up" 20 years ago, I followed Dre, Ice Cube and Public Enemy, but not Jeru. It is of a piece with the others, and I like it.

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