Jeru The Damaja – The Sun Rises In The East
The pioneer of conscious/backpack/whatever you want to call it rap, Jeru was one of the most respected lyricists of the early ’90s. Both militant and intelligent, his verses were packed with the kind of revolutionary force that worked the middle ground between Guru’s monotone and Biggie’s bouncy vocal inflections (Big Poppa hadn’t always been at odds with Jeru, either).
With DJ Premier branching out to produce his first full-length album outside of Gang Starr, Jeru delves deep into fiercely poetic bars, packing a potent punch of self-knowledge and social awareness in under 40 minutes. Not to knock Wrath of the Math (which is available on Spotify), but this debut LP set the tone for Jeru’s popularity on the East Coast (and who can forget that Crooklyn Dodgers cut?).