Jeru The Damaja Biography

Kendrick Jeru Davis, Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA. His stage name in full reading Jeru The Damaja: D Original Dirty Rotten Scoundrel. Jeru is a native New Yorker, whose name refers to the ‘first god’, son of Egyptian deities Osiris and Isis (his father was a Rastafarian). Having at one time earned a living changing tyres for Greyhound buses, he made his first demos with his homeboy/DJ PF Cuttin’, before meeting up with Guru of Gang Starr at their ‘Manifest’ video shoot. His hardcore, Brooklyn style was thus premiered on Gang Starr’s Daily Operation (on ‘I’m The Man’). Jeru also worked freestyle on their live shows. In turn DJ Premier would produce Jeru’s debut cut, ‘Come Clean’. This had been originally issued as a promo single entitled ‘Gang Starr Doundation Sampler’, on Gang Starr’s own label, Illkid Records. His approach was resolutely old school: ‘A long time ago rhyming was about having some skills, and what I tried to do is say let’s bring it back to the skills and forget about the guns, take it to the skills level and then we’ll see who the real men are’.

The rapper’s 1994 debut album, The Sun Rises In The East, was widely venerated in both the specialist and general music press, not least due to one of Premier’s most effective productions and Jeru’s clear, heavily enunciated style. A second collection followed before Jeru fell out with the Gang Starr crew and struck out on his own. The first fruits of his independence were heard on Heroz4hire, released on the Knowsavage label in 2000.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.