Have you ever wondered how your favorite classic rap song was made? In Complex TV's new series Magnum Opus, these monumental records from our past are revisited. With in-depth interviews from the artists involved to first-hand accounts of respected rap peers and critics of the time, viewers get a blueprint of how the song was created, what impact it had, and how its legacy continues to live on. New episodes of Magnum Opus can be found exclusively on Complex TV.
In the fourth installment of Complex TV's Magnum Opus, Jeru the Damaja details the making of his 1993 classic, "Come Clean." Brought up under the guidance of Gang Starr, the young and hungry Brooklyn rapper got his first shot on "I'm the Man" off their 1992 album, Daily Operation, and didn't miss with his exceptional lyricism and distinct delivery.
Proving himself to be a respectable MC, Jeru was set to make his debut song with veteran producer DJ Premier, and Premo explains he had the perfect beat in mind. "We didn't know what the topic was going to be," he recalls. "I just felt like that beat fit his attitude and his personality, and what his voice could do to a track like that."
Along with its stark boom bap backdrop, "Come Clean" was built around three samples, most notably the dripping drums of Shelly Manne's "Infinity." After hearing the beat, the then 21-year old MC knew exactly where he wanted to take his debut cut. "It wasn't really East versus West, it was fake versus real," Jeru explains. "It was just a lot of fakeness going on. I felt like I wanted to address that."
"Come Clean" is widely considered Jeru the Damaja's most significant contribution to hip-hop, and its impact is still felt to this day. "That's why we made the record," Jeru says. "Because we wanted it to be here 20 years later. We wanted it to be legendary."
Check out Jeru's new single titled "Solar Flares", produced by Large Professor.
If you like this episode, check out out the making of T.R.O.Y. below.