EWA100 - #75. Jeru The Damaja - Come Clean

75. Jeru The Damaja - Come Clean (Payday. 1994. From the LP The Sun Rises In The East)

Raven Mack: I would put this beat, along with the one to "Brooklyn Zoo", as the two greatest beats for me personally ever in the history of all things rappitty. And this one - so commonly referred to as sounding like Chinese water torture - could not have been a more perfect beat to not only complement but perfectly highlight Jeru's staggered self-scientific, big-words-you-don't-know-the-meaning-of, pseudo-sage flow. The more you listen to Jeru's other stuff, the more you realize this was the perfect storm of a Premier beat with a different-sounding rapper, and not him being the newest superfly big-headed lyricist like he was thought of at the time.

Still, there's no reason for me to haterize all over Jeru's career, because when it comes to pinnacle achievements, "Come Clean" is a far greater, completely uncomparable greatest hit, than 99% of any other MC could ever hope for. There's so many lines in this song that to this day I love and want to sample, especially "control the mic like Fidel Castro". That's probably one of my most favoritest lines ever, and when it comes to be a stupid nerd about something, that's what I'd be a stupid nerd about.
Two funny things that I write about three weeks after writing that original part there. One, Mike told me this sounded like proto-Neptunes beat, and that makes me sad sad sad. Also, we actually scratched that "control the mic" line the other weekend recording, and the DJ dude had this new bullshit program where you can sample shit into your robot and then he's got two robot records that the sounds come through and he can scratch that like a real record, but it's some shit that you just said. Well, we didn't have the CD of that anywhere, but I had an old mixtape I made with "Come Clean" under the passenger seat of my car, so we plugged in a shitty fifteen dollar boombox and played the tape through that into a mic for dude to put onto his robot scratch machine. The point of that story is no matter how much technological bullshit you have to make something sound crystal clear, a piece of shit like me is gonna wreck it all up somehow so that it still sounds rusty and dented and abrasive. It's in my DNA.

Mike Dikk: This is the first, but probably not the last time I’ll disagree with Raven on this list. I stand by the fact that the “Chinese water torture” sample sounds more like a proto-Neptunes Caribbean xylophone thing. Of course it’s not nearly as annoying as most Neptunes songs, but I think the beats to “D Original”, “Can’t Stop The Prophet” and even “Ya Playin Yourself” are better than this one. They aren’t as original, and if I was really high, I’d probably appreciate the “Come Clean” beat more, but I’m stone sober right now, so it’s not doing it for me. I know it's like hip-hop sacrilege to dis someone like Jeru and Premo, and I know this beat is pretty legendary, but I can't really help if it's my least favorite out of all the "big" Premo beats that he did for Jeru.
Raven is right about the lyrical part though. Jeru really came with it on this track and is definitely a major lyrical highlight of his somewhat short career. Yes, I realize he had a record in like 2003, but that doesn't count. On his first two records he seems pretty pissed off about mainstream rap music and that wasn't even during the worst of it, so I don't know if he voluntarily decided to go really underground and lay very low, or if people were sour because of his very blatant dissing or historical rap figures, or if it was just record label bullshit. I guess there’s always a chance that he ate too much faggot flambé too.

Download: Jeru The Damaja - Come Clean

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