In 1993, East New York rapper Jeru The Damaja released the DJ Premier-produced “Come Clean” and subsequently provided the Hip Hop world with what is arguably one of the most talked about debut singles in the history of the genre.
The record, featured on Jeru’s debut The Sun Rises In The East, most recently served as the topic of conversation in Complex TV’s recent installment of “Magnum Opus.” The episode features Jeru as well as DJ Premier and a handful of other industry notables who all give their thoughts on the iconic record.
While speaking on the creation of “Come Clean,” Jeru, who says he learned to rap from his aunt, spoke on drawing inspiration from Onyx’s “Throw Ya Gunz” and the Shelly Manne sample DJ Premier incorporated into the record.
“Premier would always cut up the Onyx…So, one day, I was just like ‘Yo, we should do a record with that as the hook.’ And [son] was like, ‘When we get back home we gon’ do that’…We heard that record. Everybody know what the record is now so, I can say it. It’s a Shelly Manne record,” Jeru revealed. “It’s all crazy. So, we just looked at each other like, ‘dag.’ Prem was like ‘Yo, do you wanna loop it like this or loop it like that?’”
As the beatsmith behind “Come Clean,” DJ Premier shared his own memories from the creation of the single. According to the noted producer, crafting the record was very similar to readying oneself for a fight or gearing up for a big game.
“I said, ‘Let’s go real left.’ And he did exactly, lyrically—we didn’t know what the topic was gonna be. I just felt like that beat fit his attitude and his personality and what his voice could do to a track like that,” Premier explained. “I’m into all of that turning around when I formulate a record…We were in the studio where it’s like ‘Ooo, wait til they hear this.’ You know, it’s almost like getting ready for a fight or something. You’re just pumped up for a big game. It’s the same thing when you cut a jam and you know how to make a jam.”
Video of the most recent episode of Complex TV’s “Magnum Opus” can be found below (via Nah Right).