The Sun Rises in the East is the debut album of American hip hop rapper Jeru the Damaja, released May 24, 1994 on PayDay Records. Production on the album was handled by legendary hip hop producer DJ Premier. The album features fellow Gang Starr Foundation … see full wiki
When this lyrical monster named Jeru the Damaja made his appearance on the Gangstarr posse cut You The Man back in 1992 on their album Daily Operation. The hip hop community were in awe with his incredible mic delivery. I still remember some of the talk concerning him, and how many heads wanted to hear more. Eventually, his buzz was so big, that a debut album was only a matter of time. In late 1993 I believe, the fans witnessed the video on his lead single Come Clean, and if this was any indication on what the rest of the album would remotely sound like, then we were well on our way to hearing a potential hip hop masterpiece. The album couldn't have come at a better time, especially, since the rap game was well on its way to over-exploiting the materialistic aspect, as well as fully embracing the gangsta portion of it, thanks to the mega successes of Dr. Dre's Chronic album and Snoop Doggy Dogg's Doggystyle album. Jeru the Damaja - The Sun Rises in the East, which featured top notch, kick ass production by DJ Premier, completely went against the grain and attacked the two rapidly growing trends in hip hop, while paying tribute to hip hops roots by bringing true rhyme skills to the mic and leaving out all the bullshit.
The Sun Rises in the East is a great album overall with all the tracks being listenable, most of them are something you can go back to, and some you may even need to, just to comprehend the points on some of the tracks. Jeru comes very strong to the mic delivering a few braggadocio tracks, along with knowledge of self and even social awareness. The opening track D. Original is one of its singles, and what a way to open an album. This track is a street narrative of the Brooklyn streets and NY itself from his perspective. He paints a vivid picture of the typical mindset of someone trying to get by on these streets, and at the same time hits on the racial profiling which was pretty fuckin' annoying at the time.
Dirty, because of the skin I'm in
The fact I have melanin automatically makes me a felon
Even though I'm righteous, rotten's what you're yellin
But I'm not chain-snatchin, or drug-sellin
According to your books you said I would be damned like Ham
Scoundrel opposite of the king that I am
The track is hot, and Premier kills it with the amazing production consisting of a hard hitting drum loop and sharp piano keys. One thing about this album concerning Premier though, he shows how versatile he is when crafting these beats. They're not heavily jazz influenced in the same way as the Gangstarr albums.Take the fast paced braggadocio track Mental Stamina featuring Afu-Ra, which features synthesized radar sounding keys and detuned bells. This song features a short back and forth between these two, and Jeru clearly comes out the best but Afu-Ra is pretty good here too. You Can't Stop The Prophet is another one where Premier's production is just outstanding, but Jeru steals the show with his storytelling. He's basically a street-bred superhero taking on the evils of Mr. Ignorance. The song feels quite ambiguous, because it can be taken as a street narrative, or a fight against the evils of the rap game. The saxophone laced song called Da Bitchez, is another socially conscious track where Jeru breaks down the difference between ladies with class and money grabbing bimbos. When I first heard this track I laughed, but then I just couldn't help notice the solid points he was making, and this song is so down to Earth it's frightening. Jeru doesn't only let the sluts have it, he soon comes down on the black community who continues letting the hood get the better of them in the track called Ain't The Devil Happy.
My favorite song on the album, in which, I'm sure is a majority of fans favorite is Come Clean. Here, Jeru goes all out against the gangsta rap style, and invites them to bring the lyrics to the fight. He sounds ready for battle and is very confident that the outcome would be in his favor.
You wanna front, what?
Jump up and get bucked
If you're feeling lucky duck
Then press your luck
I snatch fake gangsta MC's and make em faggot flambe
Your nine spray, my mind spray
Don't provoke the wrath of this rhyme inventor
Cuz I blow up spots like the world trade center
Come with the super trooper on his assault mission
The tech's technique cuz he's a technician
Wishin he'll go away won't help the weapons stop
The skills are shot cuz any idiot can let off a glock
Hard rock smellin the clutch of this untoucha
You claim you got beef on the streets so whatcha
Gonna do when real niggaz roll up on you
And you don't got your crew
Pull your glock but you don't got the heart
You was webbed straight from the start
Bought a tool and didn't learn how to use it
Got lost in Brooklyn so you had to lose it
Just for frontin you got that ass waxed
This track is very well laced; Jeru's flow is magnificent as he flows into one continuous bar on certain occasions, with amazing lyrics and great rhymes. This is among Premier's best beats ever too, as he samples a short bar from Onyx, along with the slow paced drums and water dripping sound hitting a pipe. This track is a musical hip hop masterpiece. I love the production on My Mind Spray; this is a quick, twinkling keyboard laced track with some nice scratching too, and Jeru doesn't let this beat go to waste. The album even ends on a fiery note with the track Jungle Music, where Jeru goes into storytelling mode on the African American heritage, and Statik returns back to the emcee battle with some vicious verses. Jeru definitely comes through as an incredible song writer.
Like so many other emcees before him and many after him. The Sun Rises in the East will be the measuring stick for all of Jeru's later albums, and even though his sophomore effort would come close. He would never again hit a homerun like this again. Still, I highly recommend this to hip hop fans, as this album is among the best of hip hop's Golden Age. The album is conscious and lyrically motivated for those who mainly prefer that.
Come Clean, D. Original, My Mind Spray, You Can't Stop The Prophet
Da Bitchez, Brooklyn Took It
1. Intro (life)
2. D. Original
3. Brooklyn Took It
4. Perverted Monks in the House (skit)
5. Mental Stamina f/ Afu-Ra
6. Da Bitchez
7. You Can’t Stop the Prophet
8. Perverted Monks in the House (theme)
9. Ain’t the Devil Happy
10. My Mind Spray
11. Come Clean
12. Jungle Music
-Song writing, monster production, Jeru is a lyrical terminator
-Definitely not for the party fan
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