Since Hip-Hop’s successful insurgence into America’s musical itinerary, many messengers have passed through. Some have spread messages of spiritual upliftment, and some have spread messages of power and wisdom. Although many nowadays use symbols of sex, money and drugs to make a name for themselves, one individual has not swayed away from the positive messages that is seemingly unpopular. Jeru The Damaja, one of the most talented and unique messengers in Hip-Hop, has time and time again rose from the brink of defeat to become one of Hip-Hop’s most celebrated underground artists. Riding the coattails of his current album, Heroz4hire, Jeru is out to prove that he is, and has been, one of the greatest MC’s in the history of Hip-Hop.
Damainion: Jeru, give me and the rest of your fans some insight on your current album, Heroz4hire, and how this album came about.
Jeru: I did the Heroz4hire joint for liberation purposes, and to show cats I can do this shit. The beats are three years old, nah mean? I did everything, all the studio work, the production, everything. I just want to remain self-sufficient in everything, you feel me? I’m like the book of Revelation…I’m the beginning and the end!
Damainion: Was there anyone in particular who inspired you to start rhyming?
Jeru: My aunt, yo. I’m 29 and I’ve been rapping since I was 7. My aunt’s name was Sweet G. She used to do her thing with her crew, and that’s what got me started. No rappers other than her inspired me to do this. Man, my favorite artists growing up were Chuck Berry, because of that track called “Ding-A-Ling,” and Jimmy Castor with the “King-Kong” joint.
Damainion: In recent years, in my own opinion, Hip-Hop has begun taking a turn for the worse. In your own mind, what do you think about the direction in which Hip-Hop has taken?
Jeru: Hip-Hop is like jazz or rock -n- roll. At first, it’s a fad, and it isn’t going to last. But now, everybody wants a piece of this shit. Commercial is cool, in the sense that it shouldn’t be corny, but it should have mass appeal.
Damainion: Give me your personal definition of an M.C. and everything you think it represents.
Jeru: To me, M.C. stands for “Mic Controller.” When I got the mic in my hand, FUCK OTHER M.C.’s! I got control of the mic wherever I’m at, and I ain’t going to give up my control. Word!
Damainion: I notice on the Heroz4hire album, you didn’t fit Afu Ra into the scheme of things, and you were not featured on his. What’s up between you and him?
Jeru: Man, money and fame change shit up. I taught the nigga how to rhyme and all that, but now I don’t see the nigga anymore. It’s basically the same thing with Gang Starr. We still cool and all that, but brothas ain’t on the same level right now, nah mean?
Damainion: So tell me what’s on the horizon for Jeru The Damaja. Anything the fans should be looking for in the coming year?
Jeru: Well, I’m about to start working on my project, and I’m telling you, this shit is gonna fuck niggas up! My production is tighter, and my life has changed since my last album, so now I’m basically taking shit to a whole other level, nah mean? I’m going to war on niggas, so they better prepare themselves! Also, I’m going into partnership with some cats to start the G.R.O. (Ghetto Relief Organization). We’re going to teach kids to record music and give them an outlet to express themselves in a positive fashion. It doesn’t really matter what kind of music they make, but we definitely want to teach them the fine art of it.
Damainion: Will you be collaborating with anyone in the future?
Jeru: I’m gonna get some shit started with this cat named Sir Abu. He’s been doing shit since back in the day, and my man is mad nice, for real! Other than that, I’ll be doing my thing with Lil’ Dap and Miz Marvel.
Damainion: Yo, tell these cats where they can find your latest album so they can go cop it! Also, do you take advantage of marketing yourself on the internet?
Jeru: My album is on sale right now at Virgin Records, Tower Records, Sam Goody, and Opendoormusic.com. As far as the internet, peeps can check out my website at www.dirtyrotten.com. On the website, the video for the track 99.9% is on there, for peeps who wanna check it out.
Damainion: Before we get out of here, lend some advice to cats that want to stake their claim to fame in Hip-Hop. Is there anything they should know?
Jeru: I mean, you gotta do what you do because you love doing it, nah mean? Don’t do shit to get rich, because it probably won’t happen for you. If you’re doing something just for the love of doing it, chances are you will get rich like that, you know? Also, just be yourself, nah mean? There’s a million muthafuckas who think they got the dopest shit in the world, so get your art out there and fuck what other niggas is talking about.
Damainion: Well, as a fan of your music since your debut single, Come Clean, it has been pleasure talking to you and I’ll definitely keep coppin’ what you put out, Jeru.
Jeru: It’s all love, kid.. Peace!