Jeru the Damaja is an American rapper and record producer best known for his 1994 debut album, The Sun Rises in the East. He has worked extensively with Guru and DJ Premier of Gang Starr, whom he has known since he was in high school. Jeru first showcased his unique style to audiences on "I'm the Man", a track from Gang Starr's 1992 album Daily Operation. The following year he released his first single "Come Clean" which was produced by DJ Premier and became an underground hit.
Jeru's first album, The Sun Rises in the East, was released in 1994 and produced entirely by DJ Premier. The album was well-received but was criticized by the Fugees for its lyrics, particularly for the song "Da Bichez". Fugees member Pras lightly mentioned Jeru on the track "Zealots", from the group's landmark 1996 album The Score, with the line "No matter who you damage, you're still a false prophet", referencing Jeru's single "You Can't Stop the Prophet". Jeru responded lightly in the intro of the track "Me or the Papes" and also on the track "Black Cowboys".
He followed up in 1996 with his second album, Wrath of the Math, again produced solely by DJ Premier. The album was also widely acclaimed, although not on the same level as his debut. As on his first album, Jeru was critical of commercial hip-hop artists and the record labels that produced them such as Death Row Records and Bad Boy Entertainment; the latter he criticized on the concept track "One Day". After the release of Math, Jeru reportedly had a falling-out with DJ Premier and Guru. Jeru, however, has dismissed this and claimed that they wanted to go in different directions.