From, critic Eric Sirota breaks down ‘Jerusalaam Come’–the new album by Juice Aleem

Juice Aleem :: Jerusalaam Come :: Big Dada Recordings
reviewed by Eric Sirota

Juice Aleem spits mythic hot fire on "Jerusalaam Come"
Juice Aleem spits mythic hot fire on "Jerusalaam Come"


I took a lot of stupid classes in college. One of them was called “Red Flags/Black Flags: The History of Marxist and Anarchist Thought.” Why I felt the need to spend a whole semester reading about the rivalry between two modes of thought which both ultimately lost out, I’m not sure. But we did read this one really interesting book. I don’t remember the author’s name, but I think he was French. Sorel. Something like that. Anyway, Sorel wrote that, in order to bring about change, oppressed groups construct “social myths” that inspire revolutionary action. Jaque “Or-Whatever-His-Name-Actually-Was” Sorel was writing about 19th Century French labor unions, but if he was around today, I think he would write about hip-hop.

Indeed, hip-hop has wholly embraced ‘myth’ as a form of societal protest. By ‘myth,’ I don’t mean a false story, but rather a legend which contains a kernel of profound truth, regardless of whether the story is literally accurate. The first, and still most common, myth embraced by hip-hop is that of the Gangster-hero; rappers like Jay-Z evoke the same archetype embraced by Italian Mafia tales to explore the moral ambiguities of the game. But rap has certainly expanded its mythical horizons beyond the Gangster-hero. Nas constantly paints himself as a hustling Christ-figure. Everyone on Def Jux is obsessed with the sci-fi Apocalypse as a parable for subversion of the status quo. Most famously, the Wu Tang Clan, for more than a decade, has been wholly enamored with the Kung Fu legend, employing its conflict as an allegory for epic urban struggle. Rappers use cultural myths to make statements about the conditions of urban living and the human condition more generally.

“Jerusalaam Come,” the first solo album by former Gamma frontman, UK grime-MC, Juice Aleem, further expands hip-hops’ embrace of myth and legend. But where the Wu uses Kung Fu and H.O.V.A. uses Scarface, Juice employs the myths of the ancients. Aleem sets his flows in a world where wandering Israelites are involved in constant tribal conflict (“The Fallen (Gen. 15.13)”), where God intervenes in human affair to strike down pagans (“Straight Out of BC”), and where the Mayans prophesize the Earth’s demise (“KunteKinTeTarDiss”). Constantly interweaving his Before-the-Common-Era imagery with modern themes, Aleem creates a chilling commentary on our current state of affairs.


Music Vibes: 9 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 8.5 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 8.5 of 10

Originally posted: October 20, 2009


2 Replies to “From, critic Eric Sirota breaks down ‘Jerusalaam Come’–the new album by Juice Aleem”

  1. Hello Mickey,

    I’ve been meaning to get back to you. First of all, glad you enjoyed the article, though this particular story is not mine, but rather my friend Eric Sirota’s, a dude who writes for I enjoy his reviews and try to shine spots on my friends whenever possible, so I’ve been re-running his stories on my site.

    As for the RSS feed, I’ve got nothing for you at this time. I am super budget when it comes to internet tech-work. Rota writes reviews for them just about every week, and for the most part I get ’em on my site shortly after. You can also just keep tabs on or hit me on FB if you would like updates on my work.

    All best,

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