For over 25 years Jeru The Damaja has been an important part of the hip hop community. From his early collaborations with the legendary Guru, and Dj Premier collectively known as Gang Starr, to the present day. We had the pleasure to chat with Jeru about the new Brainworx bx_console SSL 9000J, the presets he created for it, and of course, his historical career and the journey along the way.
DJ Premier & Jeru The Damaja
So you’re based in Berlin now, why the move from NYC, do you ever get homesick?
I Like to move around; it keeps my creative juices flowing. Home is wherever I lay my hat; I guess its the nomad in me.
You have recently been featured on Gang Starr's new album. Can you tell us about 'From A Distance’ and how it came about?
When Premiere told me about his plans to make a new Gang Starr album a few years ago, it was exciting and sad at the same time as Guru was not with us anymore.
He told me he wanted it to be special, and he wanted to do it with the original Gang Starr Foundation, and as they say, the rest is history. The song and album came out great, and I am honored to be a part of such an incredible record.
You’ve been in the game for longer than most, how do you manage to still be so successful and on top of the game after all that time?
I just keep creating daily; some days, I come up with gold and diamonds, and some days I come up with rocks coal. The secret is to keep producing, to keep learning to master your craft.
What was your most memorable recording session and why?
My most memorable recording session was in D&D studios in NYC, it was the day I recorded my verse for 'I'm The Man' because I knew that what I was doing was finally going to be heard by people all over the world, and that session changed my life!
Guru & Jeru The Damaja
Besides rocking the mic around the globe and of course writing lyrics, you’re also spending time producing, how important is it making your own beats these days?
The first thing I did when I got my record deal was to buy turntables and a mixer. The second thing was to buy an MPC 3000, and I haven't looked back since. Working with producers is magnificent, but there is nothing like having something in your head becoming something you can hear and feel, to me, the process is life itself.
We approached you with the new Brainworx bx_console SSL 9000J plugin to give us some feedback and do a handful of presets. What is it about the bx_console SSL 9000J that you gravitate towards?
I really like the compressor and the EQ on the SSL 9000J; to me, those are the fundamental components when it comes to getting a good sound. Whether it's fat drums or a clean punchy vocal, you can achieve it with the SSL 9000 J; The Brainworx bx_console SSL 9000J might just be my new best friend.
Jeru The Damaja (bx_console SSL 9000J, Berlin 2020)
Can you tell us a little bit about the presets that you created?
This Preset will make your kick drums Thick, Fat, or whatever adjective you use to describe a bass drum with Bottom.
An excellent companion on your journey to clearer vocals.
Hats is Hi
The title pretty much says it all bright crispy hi-hats, give a try and see for yourself.
Want to give you bass a Boost? Then slap this on its guaranteed to give you bass some Balls!!
If you want a snare with that Snap, Crackle, and Pop, then this is the preset for you.
Let’s talk about current and new projects you are working, what’s the latest for Jeru The Damaja?
I've just released a limited edition 12 inch, and I've just finished recording my new album. I'm also working on my Can't Stop The Prophet Graphic novel and a host of other projects; basically, I'm just staying creative.
Jeru The Damaja & The Notorious B.I.G
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us Jeru, your work in the game will continue to inspire us all!
Thank you. It is an honor and a pleasure.
For more on Jeru The Damaja check out:
Download Jeru’s presets for Brainworx bx_console SSL 9000J here: