The 50 Best Debut Rap Singles

24. Jeru The Damaja "Come Clean" (1993)

Producer: DJ Premier
Album: The Sun Rises in the East
Label: Full Frequency Range

DJ Premier was already a hip-hop hero when Jeru the Damaja made his first splash as a solo artist, in the wake of a scene-stealing guest spot on Gang Starr's "I'm the Man" the previous year. But no one was ready for "Come Clean." The song featured a percussive beat that was so unusual some listeners suspected it wasn't a sample at all. (The song was, in fact, a sample of Shelly Manne's "Infinity"). Jeru's chest-beating performance helped the song become an underground smash, as Jeru challenged gun-clapping MCs with his "mind spray," taking a more righteous tack than most without sacrificing the feeling of threatening power: "The result's your remains stuffed in a car trunk." - David Drake

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