Sunday Grab Bag: Jeru “Ya Playin’ Yaself”


My boy K over at Analog Giant gave me a little shite last week for lackin’ in the hip-hop department. So I’m comin’ correct today with one of my favorite 12″ singles from the vinyl department: Jeru the Damaja’s Ya Playin’ Yaself.

For anyone tired of the commercialism and self-congratulatory path some rap has taken, this is your anthem. Jeru calls out the material and superficial traps of the game:

“Knowledge, wisdom, understanding /
like King Solomon’s wealth /
You’re a playa but only because you be playin’ yaself”

For me, this song (1996) was bold because Jeru takes a stand and draws a line in the sand about … well … keepin’ it real.

Jeru the Damaja | Ya Playin’ Yaself
Jeru the Damaja | Ya Playin’ Yaself (acapella)

(Ripped from 12″ single, Payday Records, 1996 … even better, it still has the $4.99 price tag from Fat Beats on it, which means I bought it on my first and only trip to NYC when I was in college.)

4 thoughts on “Sunday Grab Bag: Jeru “Ya Playin’ Yaself””

  1. I still remember seeing this music video when it came out. Has to be one of the most influential hip hop songs in my life to be honest. Thanks for the memories!

  2. Can’t bring it much stronger than Jeru. Great post Kev. Glad you guys are listening. Ha-ha.

    Keep up the great work as always.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.