Jeru the Damaja

Heroz4hire

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Jeru the Damaja returned from a three-year absence with Heroz4hire, an independent album released on his own Knowsavage label, featuring both production and mixing by Jeru himself. His rapping style, as dense and inventive as ever, entails listening to the album at least three or four times to understand the tongue-twisting rhymes. From his last album, Jeru continues his interrogation of women with more than love on their mind on "Bitchez Wit Dikz," and contributes an apocalyptic production to the historical saga "Renagade Slave." Jeru is surprisingly good as a producer, weaving scratchy, repetitious samples around tough, lo-fi beats -- similar to DJ Premier's work on the first two Jeru LPs. Though the hooks here aren't quite as catchy as Premier's, the incredibly raw production suits the independent status of Heroz4hire. Jeru also shares the mic and the credits on several tracks; female rapper Mizmarvel appears on "Verbal Battle" and "Anotha Victim." Highlights include the hilarious New York exposé "Seinfeld" and the paternity case "Blue Jean (Safe Sex)."

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