Album: Wrath of the Math

In 1996, the jiggy era of hip-hop was in full swing, with the rough and rugged look of hip-hop being replaced by lavish, Dom P sippin' rappers replacing the more backpack, underground sounds that New York was used to. It was this complex that Brooklyn, New York's Jeru The Damaja was trying to combat, backed by the sample-heavy sound boom bap of DJ Premier. Taken from his second album, Wrath of the Math, lead single “Ya Playin’ Yaself” kept it real over a sample from The New Birth that was ironically used by The Notorious B.I.G.'s Junior M.A.F.I.A. on their huge 1995 single "Player's Anthem," detailing everything about the rap game that he hated. Twenty years before DJ Khaled turned “you played yourself” into a major meme, Jeru wanted black women to know their worth, wanted guys to stop snitching on record, and for everyone to stop buying into the Big Willie Style of the day. —khal