Tuesday, August 9, 2011

JERU WEEK! Line for Line: Jeru the Damaja and Afu-Ra on "Mental Stamina" and "Physical Stamina"

This week the Tortoise General is celebrating hip hop legend Jeru the Damaja. Word Up! Plus this is a double Line for Line post covering both mental and physical stamina. 

Afu-Ra and Jeru the Damaja

"Mental Stamina"

--Official Stats--
Artist: Jeru the Damaja featuring Afu-Ra
Producers: DJ Premier and Jeru the Damaja
Album: "The Sun Rises in the East"
Song: "Mental Stamina"

Release Date: May 24, 1994

If there is one thing you can say about Jeru it's that he has dope lyrics. But I think he shined the brightest when he shared the mic with his fellow Gang Starr Foundation member Afu-Ra. Mental Stamina, from Jeru's "The Sun Rises in the East" album features a back and forth between the two MCs plus a few great verses, and needless to say: it's illllllll. It was never a single or anything like that, it's one of those grimy tracks that nobody ever hears buried deep on the album. The beat is downright jarring, it's so raw that it honestly sounds like racket...which is a great thing (although it's nowhere near as chaotic as the beat on Physical Stamina, which is a beat so raw that it defies reason). So let's just get to the best part...the back and forth:

Jeru: Pugilistic linguistics, check out the mystics, we're fantistic
Afu: You mean fantastic?
Jeru: Fuck it, you'll get your ass kicked / Challenge my verbal gymnastics
Afu: Vanacrobatics
Jeru: Vocabulary calisthenics / Can't understand the mathematics are esoteric
Watch the style but also peep the lyrics /my lightning, my thunder
Way back I stomped out Her-cu-les / But now I stomp out MC's
Can't chill, because the Sun don't freeze
Heavy metal, hard like titaniam / Alchemist, I turn wax into platinum

Afu: Influential, scientifical power / My mental violence will shower
Devour at a crazy rate, my speed'll do your circuits
and I'll perforate in data banks

Mental Stamina-Jeru The Damaja(̾●̮̮̃̾•̃̾)凸 by jasc

I could honestly just print the rest of the lyrics, they are high quality all the way through. Afu calls himself a "Poisonous Taoist" and that's just amazing. Shit, I HAVE to print more...

I whirlwind through cities
Breaking down substances, combining matter
Test my hand skills and back bones splatter
Rough and tough although the mental will stomp ya
Pugilism electrocute like Blanka

There you go. Case closed. I know this is Jeru week and I kind of focused on Afu-Ra for this track, but WHO CARES? You gotta admit the boy kills it. But Jeru does too. Go look up the lyrics to this track, pull out your dictionary and see what these guys are saying. They are geniuses. Everybody kills it. This song is the best ever. Except maybe for...

"Physical Stamina"

--Official Stats--
Artist: Jeru the Damaja featuring Afu-Ra
Producers: DJ Premier and Jeru the Damaja
Album: "Wrath of the Math"
Song: "Physical Stamina"

Release Date: October 26, 1996

So take all of the good things I said about Mental Stamina and then apply them again to Physical Stamina. Both tracks are great (but I think Mental Stamina is a little better). Both tracks start exactly the same way ("...Let's freak that rhyme we was freakin' the other night...") but they proceed much differently. This track doesn't have a back and forth, which is a shame becasue it was the best part of the other. Much like Mental Stamina, the beat here is also racket, but this time it sounds like someone banging around an apartment and crashing into various musical instruments. It's crazy raw and a perfect fit for these brilliant MCs.
I damage in the mental and physical universe
You quake the earth when you hit face-first /
Brake before it gets worse
But those that thirst for abuse get loose
'Cause soon I'll be around that neck tight like a noose
God, show n' prove
More strength than the Juggernaut
Electric like Magneto
Know you couldn't test Mental, or now the sequel
I slip to the floor for the grapple
I crack your collarbone, while I bust your Adam's apple

What? All other MC's just throw in the towel becasue you ain't matching that Magneto line, or any of these lines for that matter. This song is brutal. Seriously, if you have a weak constitution or are some kind of amateur, don't listen to these tracks, they'll kill you.

You think that you
could stop me?
Perverted monks, so now we apply pressure
The Stamina's style is iller than its predecessor
Daoist professor, mix up the elixir
Internal power, MCs we devour

Score Jeru Mental Stamina: 10/10
Score Jeru Physical Stamina: 10/10


Consider yourself devoured, MC or not.

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