Jeru the Damaja Divine Design

His debut is a hip-hop classic and his follow-up was equally impressive, but then Jeru the Damaja dropped off the map for a couple of years and resurfaced with Heroz 4 Hire and it was clear that something was wrong with the once-mighty formula. Divine Design confirms the unfortunate news: Jeru doesn’t rock nearly as hard without Premier. The legendary producer brought the MC to godlike status and pumped so much life into those early joints, but with Divine Design, things feel very flat. Jeru can still rip the mic apart and to knock a decent record strictly on the fact that Premo isn’t controlling the beats is unfair, but there’s no denying that the essence and chemistry that created "Come Clean” is gone. There’s still some high-quality on Divine Design though and they come at us early on, such as the opening "Logical” that is a slow-paced joint that really allows Jeru to give emphasis and clarity to his wisdom. "True Skillz” is the album’s finest track and sounds like the MC in classic form with its sinister rolling snare and haunting strings. Sadly the rest of the record tends to fall into a boring cycle of soulless stuttering beats and programmed handclaps. So even when Jeru is lyrically demolishing you, it’s hard to feel his full impact with whack beats surrounding him, especially when we’re accustomed to hearing his delivery over some of hip-hop’s most memorable production. (Ashenafi)