Today in Hip Hop History: February 14, 1972
Today marks the 44th birthday of Brooklyn-based emcee Jeru the Damaja. Growing up in the emerging Golden Age New York hip hop scene, Jeru began rhyming at block parties until his emergence on the vinyl alongside Gang Starr in the track “I’m the Man.” In 1993, Jeru released his debut single, produced by DJ Premier, titled “Come Clean,” which sparked the interested of underground hip hop heads.
Jeru’s debut album, The Sun Rises in the East, came out in 1994 and was completely produced by, you guessed it, Premo again. The album ranked #95 on About.com’s list of 100 best hip hop albums of all time. Additionally, the album received some negative criticism from The Fugees on their track “Zealots,” which cited Jeru as a “false prophet.” He then responded on his subsequent tracks “Me or the Papes” and “Black Cowboys.”
Since his debut, Jeru has consistently put out music but none to the likes of his earliest. He created his own record label titled Know Savage Records and even semi-retired from rapping until 1999. Happy birthday Jeru the Damaja!