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!
Was there anyone in particular who inspired you to start rhyming?
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.
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?
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.
Give me your personal definition of an M.C. and everything you think it represents.
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!
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?
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?