Wednesday, August 10, 2011

JERU WEEK! Yo! Check Out My Cover: Jeru the Damaja "The Sun Rises in the East"

Noting Controversial Here At All
--Official Stats--
Artist: Jeru the Damaja
Album: "The Sun Rises in the East"
Subject: Album Cover
Release Date: May 25, 1994

Gulp! So usually I do these album cover reviews to make fun of some of the horrible cover art out there (there is a lot of it). Rappers love showing how good they can superimpose stacks of money over a picture of a Bentley they downloaded. Then they look angry and hold up their necklaces. It's fun for everyone, and stupid. Now, I love jokes and all, but this time I'm going to take a look at one most controversial covers in hip hop. In fact, I can only think of one other cover that fits in the same category: "Party Music" by The Coup...and that category is "depicting the destruction of the World Trade Center in New York City". Eh! So, even with this being a humor blog run by idiots I must point out that there is nothing funny about anything that happened with the bombings or the attacks or the destruction of the twin towers. It's a terrible tragedy and its awful. Not funny. Sensitive subject.

So why in the hell is this on the cover of one of my all time favorite albums? Well, first of all this album is from 1994, and if you can do math you will know that 1994 is less than (before) 2001. Right? So maybe Jeru was just saying that he raps so hard that the WTC would catch on fire? That's very possible (more about that later). Oh, wait, in 1993 the towers were bombed as well. Six people died and "50,000 other workers and visitors were left gasping for air within the 110 story towers". 50,000 people? That's a lot. That's too many. Is that true Wikipedia? That sounds fake. Whatever, we should just say once again: any and all bad things that happened at the WTC are really bad.

So I've typed a lot and I still haven't said anything (classic Tortoise General). So let's cut the crap and get to the bottom of this. The explosion in 1993 didn't look anything like this cover art. So this is probably not a depiction of that. Get it? The real explosion was in the basement. So, very different, I guess. Crap. Still, a bad thing happened, then Jeru kind of ...used it for marketing? This review is a maze of deadends. The bottom line is Jeru put this picture on his best album. Is the picture good? Not really. Is it offensive? Probably. But back in 1993, when it was designed, it was probably not a big deal. in fact, when I picked up this album (probably sometime in 1994-1996) I didn't even think about the cover. Some people may have thought something about it, who knows. I can say it looks bad now. So, uh...

"But wait! Biggie said that line 'blow up like the World Trade' in Juicy...and that song came out at exactly the same time." So it must not have been such a sensitive topic, even in New York City. Yeah, you're right! That song was a big hit. Nobody cared about that then. Well, let's make sure we get this straight: Jeru is awesome, but this cover...Jeez. Let's just break it down. Jeru isn't perfect. He uses lots of bad language, he threatens lots of violent violence, he degrades lots of women who he considers himself to be better than, he's kind of arrogant, you get the idea. This cover is just typical Jeru. Who knows why it's there. Who cares? If you don't like it, then don't download the album. Actually, do download it because it's great.

That's it. This is hopeless. Abandon review! (alarm sounds) (bells ringing) Abandon review!

(Editor's note: I suspect that this cover comes from the line in the song Come Clean which says: "Don't provoke the wrath of this rhyme inventor / Cuz I blow up spots like the World Trade Center". That's it. It's a metaphor, "Blow Up" is like leave the crowd stunned by dope lyrics and the World Trade Center was just literally blown up (a little) but made big news. So this cover shows the extent to which Jeru can amaze the crowd with his lyrics (worldwide attention). Plus it's a striking image that nobody really noticed.)
Art Score: C*/10


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