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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

2.95

Votes

11231

Genres

  • Hip Hop

Reviews

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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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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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Tue Jun 13 2023
2

This is a revolutionary hip-hop album....... for 1988. 6 years later, Jeru gets buried by hip-hop royalty in Biggie, Nas, WuTang and more. Rap was about to change forever but it sounds like the damaja was late to the party. This record is just ok.

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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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Mon Jan 25 2021
2

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

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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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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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Sat May 06 2023
4

New York rap from the 90s almost always works for me, and this is no exception. DJ Premier's beats are the star of the show here. His samples are brave, almost avant-garde, even dissonant at times, yet he still manages to make everything into a head-bobber. He creates such a rich atmosphere from so few elements. He cuts the samples up in a way that calls attention to the cuts themselves and it really punctuates the songs.

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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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Fri Oct 20 2023
3

Listened to this album while eating humus and carrot sticks on the deck in the sun. Surprising good listening for when you're eating humus and carrot sticks on the deck in the sun.

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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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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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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

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 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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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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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 Feb 23 2023
5

DJ Premier beats en goede old school east coast rap. Kende alleen mental stamina, wat ik wel echt een goed nummer vind net als de rest van het album eigenlijk. Staat blijkbaar in het rijtje met east coast classics uit die tijd waar ik het nu ook mee eens ben

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Fri Mar 03 2023
5

This may well be my favourite hip hop album I've heard on the list so far. I'd never even heard of Jeru The Damaja before this, but I can see why he played a big part in the revival of the East Coast Hip Hop scene. The lyricism is excellent, there's a real poetic quality to his rapping. The misogyny is obviously there but I don't think it's as bad as a lot of the other rappers around this time. The beats were amazing too, and they never felt overshadowed by the vocals. Instead the beats and rapping always seemed to compliment each other. This was just a great classic hip hop album, the best hip hop I've heard on the list thusfar, and potentially my new all-time favourite hip hop album.

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Wed Mar 29 2023
5

Although I had never heard of Jeru The Damaya before seeing this the album cover alone screams classic 90’s hip hop and this project really does not disappoint. This album is filled with slick rhymes, abstract beats and little MF Doom-like skit snippets throughout with no filler whatsoever, I wouldn’t be surprised if Joey Bada$$ took inspiration from this album for his mixtape 1999 as there are a good handful of moments on here that remind me of that project, classic Brooklyn hip hop. I particularly enjoy the unorthodox piano on the track ‘D.Original’ and the catchy hook on ‘Da Bichez’. Despite the stripped back production making way for more lyrical focus the beats on this record kept me listening and that’s why I find this to be such a great record, because there’s that balance

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Tue Apr 11 2023
5

What the heck amazing?! The root of some Dilated Peoples samples?! Super fun. Really good. Good vibes!

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Fri May 05 2023
5

Wow I can’t believe I’ve never heard of him before, but I was impressed by this album. While both are great, I’d consider east coast rap superior. I will definitely be checking out more of his albums.

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Mon Aug 28 2023
5

Heaps of family samples, and dope tracks. Up loud relive the hay day

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Thu Sep 14 2023
5

Perfect start to finish. One of the best classic hip hop albums I've heard

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Sun Aug 27 2023
5

Great 90’s NY hip hop. Really enjoyed this!

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Wed Nov 15 2023
5

Genius east coast hip hop, from a time most of the scene was looking west. An artist I had never even heard of, but wish I had! Hints of wu tang style, in beats and flow, and i can hear his influence on both Akala and eminem, and many others. Bordering on conscious, but with beats and skits too. Loved it, now off to find out what he did to be expunged from the history books!

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Fri Nov 17 2023
5

Great east coast hip hop with wonderful music beds that reminds me of the best of Wu Tang.

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Thu Nov 23 2023
5

I'm surprised by the year. This sounds later then 1994. Which might point to why this is on this list. Very tight, if a bit shocking to be to shocking.

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Mon Jan 15 2024
5

Not a hip hop listener. But this has a good groove and doesn't seem to have aged. It's of its time, but clearly timeless

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Wed Jan 31 2024
5

Man i was not expecting to like this. Immediately it just grabbed me and didn't let me go. Infectious beats, clever lines. This thing rules

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Wed Apr 10 2024
5

Amazing, I feel bad for not ever hearing this.

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Wed Apr 17 2024
5

Oh man this album is great. Love the flow and there's plenty of cool lines throughout, and the production and beats sound out of the world

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Thu Apr 25 2024
5

Pleasantly surprised! First song’s beat through me off at first but that song grew on me listening through it the first time. Then Jeru was done warming up. Lyrically, dude is on point and the beats are some really unique ones especially using piano in hip-hop.

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Fri May 03 2024
5

Great lyrics. Story telling/catchy/good hooks. Not too much machismo. Solid.

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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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Sun Apr 25 2021
4

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

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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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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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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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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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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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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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Fri Feb 18 2022
4

They don’t make rap like this anymore

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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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