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by
1 January, 2000@12:00 am
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 With the dissipation of the Gang Starr foundation, Jeru The Damaja was left out in the cold by his former compadres, Guru and DJ Premier. The beef was put in the public eye with an underground track from Jeru called “Friends”, which was responded to by Gang Starr on Moment of Truth’s “B.I. Vs. Friendship”. It was once said by a wack emcee that without Premier, Jeru couldn’t sell it. Today, the Prophet returns, hoping to prove to everyone that his career doesn’t live in Primo’s shadow.

While Jeru isn’t necessarily destined to outsell his previous two albums with this independently released record, he does actually lay any doubts to rest. Jeru has picked up the production chores himself, and while, of course, they don’t beat Premier’s tracks, they are actually still surprisingly good. This time around, the drums aren’t as raw as Primo’s trademark style, and are instead handed in for some more basic 80′s style drum breaks, but with the fresh sample selections, and Jeru’s cadence, they work well together. Tracks like “Great Solar Stance” and “Seinfeld” don’t bite the Premier formula, but still create the vibe found on his previous efforts. The production style is still dope, still Jeru, and still Brooklyn.

Lyrically, Jeru is still as fresh as he was on When The Sun Rises In The East as well as its follow-up. Following tradition, he expands on some classic themes, such as on “Bitchez Wit Dikz”, the third in the bitches vs. queens series, and “Renagade Slave”, an obvious sequel to “The Frustrated Nigga”. He even picks up where Ice Cube left off on “It Was A Good Day”, with “What A Day”, describing another perfect day in his own perfect world. Also lending a hand to this album is hip-hop heroine, Miz Marvel, who lends her liberal rhymes to a few tracks, including three of her own solo tracks. Although, fans of Jeru might not be open to her, as her inclusion takes away from the main focus - the Damaja himself.

Sure, the drums aren’t as raw and the cuts are not as precise. We’d all take Primo’s beats over Jeru’s any day, but who can be mad at him for doing it himself - (and doing it well!?!?) Bottom line is, if you choose to listen to this album with an ice grill on because Primo isn’t present, then you’ve already decided you don’t like it, and you are playing yourself. But if you are a true listener, give Jeru a chance, because he’s proven that he does still have it, and can hold is own. And what the fuck is Pras doing these days, anyway?

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