Yo Ho! Nightrider here!

On 24 May 1994 Jeru The Damaja debuted his hip-hop career with his album The Sun Rises in the East. Produced solely by DJ Premeir, Jeru’s themes in this album criticizes commercial hip-hop artists and their record labels. Alongside fellow East Coast hip-hop artists The Wu-Tang Clan, Nas and Black Moon, Jeru The Damaja helped revive East Coast Hip Hop. Many critics state that The Sun Rises in the East is Jeru’s best album.

Let’s take a look back at some tracks from this monumental album:

The first track “Intro” is a word-by-word quotation of the English dubbed version introduction of the 1987 anime classic “Fist of the North Star.”

“D-Original” talks about the dangers and realities of East New York, a borough in Brooklyn.

“Da Bichez” drew criticism from the Fugees because of its misogynistic lyrics about women who prey on the wealth of men. Pras, a member of the Fugees, criticized Jeru on the song “Zealots” from the album The Score by lightly mentioning him and saying that Jeru is “still a false prophet” in reference to Jeru’s track “You Can’t Stop The Prophet”. Jeru lightly responded to these criticisms in his 1996 second album Wrath of the Math with the intro of “Me or the Papes” (for “Da Bichez”) and “Black Cowboys.”

“Come Clean” is saying that if you try to out-rap Jeru, you will get destroyed lyrically. This track can be interpreted as criticism on fake gangsters and uneducated hip-hop artists that will collapse when the moment of truth arrives.

Although Wrath of the Math is Jeru the Damaja’s most successful album, his debut with The Sun Rises in the East laid the basis of the enduring legacy of East Coast Hip Hop. The lyrical content, good or bad, is still relevant due to their criticisms of the commercialism of Hip Hop.