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Jeru the Damaja

Jeru the DamajaAKA Kendrick Jeru Davis

Born: 14-Feb-1972
Birthplace: Brooklyn, NY

Gender: Male
Religion: Rastafarian
Race or Ethnicity: Black
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Rapper

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Brooklyn rapper, Come Clean

Inspired and influenced by the sounds of the emerging hip-hop scene taking place on his neighborhood streets, Brooklyn native Kendrick Jeru Davis was making his own attempts at writing and reciting by the age of ten. After completing high school he set about making a name for himself as a professional MC, working a series of part-time jobs to pay the bills while performing under the name "Jeru The Damaja". It was during this time he started to collaborate with the duo Gang Starr, who had relocated to New York towards the end of the 1980s; ultimately, it was his appearance on the track I'm The Man from the 1992 Gang Starr album Daily Operation that would break him to a national hip-hop audience. After a period touring with the group, his debut single Come Clean was released in 1993 though their Illkids label, creating enough of a stir in the underground scene to attract the interest of the PolyGram subsidiary Payday Records.

Jeru's debut full-length The Sun Rises in the East was issued through Payday in 1994, featuring production work from Gang Starr's DJ Premier; the album received good critical notices and was given an enthusiastic response from the hip-hop underground, further consolidating the reputation the rapper had established with Come Clean. Later in the year he made a guest appearance on the Digable Planets album Blowout Comb, as well as making lyric contributions to the next Gang Starr release Hard To Earn. A second album, Wrath of the Math surfaced in 1996, launching the popular singles Ya Playin' Yaself and Me Or The Papes; regardless of this positive response, however, support from his label began to wane, and his affiliation with Payday would subsequently be dissolved.

After a three-year gap, Jeru's next release Heroz 4 Hire (1999) was issued through his own KnowSavage label, the rapper assuming all of the production, mixing and writing duties for the release. After another sizeable gap, his fourth album Divine Design (2003) was once again independently issued -- this time through a second self-founded label, Ashenafi. In the space between the two, Jeru kept active with an extensive touring schedule, as well as making guest contributions to projects that included The RZA's soundtrack for the Jim Jarmusch film Ghost Dog (1999) and DJ Honda's H3 (2001) album, collaborations with Groove Armada, DJ Hazu and Doudou Masta, and being utilized on the DJ Food/DK turntablist collection Now, Listen! (2001).

    Gang Starr Vocalist (1988-93)
    DJ Honda Vocalist (2000)
    Jeru The Damaja

    Gang in Blue (1996) · Potter

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