Jeru The Damaja - The Hammer EP (Review)

Jeru The Damaja - The Hammer EP (Essence of Hip-Hop)

"The Hammer EP" is the latest release from Brooklyn, NY hip-hop legend and Gangstarr Foundation emcee Jeru The Damaja. The EP features production from Large Professor, JuJu (of The Beatnuts), PF Cuttin and others and was released on June 17, 2014 via Hedspinn Records.

1) Intro - Skit

2) Point Blank - The first song on the EP has a kind of spaced out beat, with oscillating synthesizers and ambient keyboards over stuttering drums and deep bass. The beat is cool I guess and Jeru sounds nice over it, getting right to the point and rhyming about the wackness of hip-hop nowadays. Not a bad way to kick off the EP. - 3.25/5

3) So Raw - Jeru The Damaja raps about how real he is and how dope his mic skills are over a quirky instrumental with strange loop that I can't really get into. The rhymes are dope, but I'm just not feelin' the beat on this one. It's not terrible or anything, its just not for me. - 2.5/5

4) Attack The Wack (Skit) - Skit.

5) A.R.M.E.D. (featuring The Beatnuts) - Jeru teams up with Psycho Les and Juju over a darker instrumental with some bubbling keyboards and reverberating synthesizers. The beat is good, but not spectacular, and the rhymes are about the same. Again, it's not terrible, but it's nothing amazing. - 2.5/5

6) Solar Flares - Legendary hip-hop producer Large Professor delivers what is easily the best instrumental on the EP so far, with some soft pianos and ambient synths over head nodding boom-bap drums. The beat is banging and Jeru rips it, spitting some of his usual scholarly raps full of science references and other knowledge. This one is fire. - 5/5

7) The Hammer - The final song on the album feature Jeru laying down the lyrical hammer on wack emcees over another dope instrumental with some organs and synths over stomping drums. The only thing I'm not really feelin' about this track is the chorus. Otherwise, this one is pretty good. - 3.75/5

8) Dr. Freedman (Outro) - Skit.

I'm going to rate the EP

3.25 / 5

because there are some really good tracks on here, but there are a few weaker ones as well. Lyrically the EP is really tight the whole way through, with Jeru The Damaja coming with his usual style and kicking knowledge while talking shit about wack emcees. The beats are where the album disappoints however, with a few weaker instrumentals holding back the project from achieving greatness. I wasn't really feelin' the beats on "So Raw" or "A.R.M.E.D." that much, which definitely hurts the overall score since that only leaves three other songs outside of the skits. Luckily those three cuts are all pretty ill, with "Solar Flares" being the albums definite highlight. Still, not a bad way to welcome back Jeru after all these years.


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