The Beast from the East Earns Praise
Gucci Fails Again
In the vein of east coast classics such as Liquid Swords and Illmatic, The Sun Rises In The East, Jeru the Damaja's debut album, depicts the constant struggles and difficult street life of growing up in the city that never sleeps.
Jeru has a knack for thought-provoking lyricism over legendary producer DJ Premier's perfectly constructed beats. While his delivery and rhymes don't quite have the effect that Nas' or GZA's might have, Jeru holds his own enough to be considered one of the elite MC's on the east coast scene in the '90s.The real highlight of the album is DJ Premier's production. His style is very clean and simple, but it creates an atmosphere that is 100 percent New York City. This is mostly due to how light and easy going Premier's beats are.
The jazzy saxophone lead in "Da Bitches" is soothing and easy listening, as is the underwater sounding melody of "Come Clean". The album's bass is present but doesn't make the beats sound like a continuous pulse; it does its job and lets Premier's soothing melodies take up most of the sound of the album.
Some say that Jeru's rhymes on this album aren't as top notch as his other attempts but I have to disagree. He seamlessly transfers from rapping about the crime-ridden streets of New York City to philosophical insight on ignorance in the youth. He paints a picture that you would expect New York City to look like; bleak, grueling, and rough. Jeru the Damaja's debut is a great collection of old school hip hop to have around when you're in the need for something to kick back and relax to. DJ Premier brings his best work to the table here, providing beat after beat of solid music that goes well with Jeru's tales of the rotten apple. Don't expect an album of Liquid Swords or Illmatic quality, but Jeru more than holds his own against other New York City legends.
The N-word loving Kreayshawn sidekick V-Nasty teams up with possibly the worst male of MC of the century Gucci Mane to make a collaboration that no one asked for. Although the pairing comes as a surprise, the mix tape boasts unimaginative lines that fall flatter than Reese Witherspoon's chest. In fact, BAYTL can only be appreciated if looked at for its novelty appeal, thanks to V-Nasty's ridiculous attempts at rapping.
At one point on the album, she claims she's "more hood than David Banner" and from then on it's obvious that she might not have the slightest clue that she is in fact white. On every track her obnoxious and nasally voice overshadows what could have been a not the worst but still really bad album for Gucci.
As if her act isn't already unconvincing, so too are her over-the-top wannabe bad girl rhymes that obsess over being accepted by the hood more than even Gucci himself cares to.The Ice Cream Man, for the first time, throws some variety into his slower than molasses rhymes, which is enough to make him look like Rakim next to V-Nasty's lack of talent and everything else needed to be a successful artist. Simplistic beats produced by whack producer Zaytoven make you feel like you're killing braincells just listening to the album. Gucci gets effort points for some of the rhymes he spits but most of them still involve the same old cookie cutter dope pushing Atlanta rhymes we've already heard a million times. This is an album to keep yourself and your kids away from for years to come.
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