(WWETV Network) New York hip hop in the 1990’s had many MC’s, but not too many were rhyming on the topics that Jeru The Damaja was spewing. Toronto rapper DT The Artist spoke with Jeru recently about how he started in the rap game, the era of social media’s impact on hip hop, and advice for new artists.
For the uninitiated, Jeru The Damaja was considered a lyrical threat to rappers during the hip hop reign of Notorious B.I.G., who was known as the “King OF New York” in the midst of the east and west coast rivalry. He would also rival some of his own New York rappers.
DJ Premier explained to Genius what was happening with Biggie Smalls and Jery The Damaja in 1996. Premier and Biggie had to squash some beef that stemmed from Jeru the The Damaja’s 1996 track “One Day”:
So I remember when I spoke to Big about it, he was like, ‘Yeah, but you gotta be talking about me, ’cause he said he had a Versace suit on.’ I was like, ‘No.’ The quote unquote uniform of that era, when it was starting to shift, was Versace, and there was the shades and all that, and we weren’t with it. Now if that’s what you rock, cool. But we’re talking about how we see hip-hop right now from how it used to be when we really enjoyed it, so we were just giving a perspective of how we viewed it.
So he was including a lot of other people as well, but he warned me that he wanted to get at him and say what he had to say. He said, ‘If you don’t like it, I’ll pull it.’ And I was like, ‘Nah, say what you gotta say.’ Once I heard it, I froze for a second when he said, ‘Son, I’m surprised you run with them.’
Check out this exclusive Old School Saturday full interview segment from WWETV Network with Jeru The Damaja.