The Brooklyn rapper speaks to east London students about freestyling, sampling and the "myths behind the record business"...

Brooklyn rapper Jeru The Damaja spoke to enraptured teenage students at an east London hip-hop workshop last Tuesday (17 October).

Talking at Newham Sixth Form College, he dealt with freestyling, sampling and the “myths behind the record business”.

The workshop is part of a 10-week course run by DJ Pogo and Sparkii in conjunction with ‘Urban Development’. It aims to develop singing, rapping and programming skills among inner city BTEC and ‘A’ level students.

Jeru, on tour with Pogo‘s Lyrical Lounge, defined hip-hop as “an expression of the oppressed youth”, before underlining the importance of artistic originality in a question-and-answer session. He said: “You’ve got to stop talking in terms of ‘English rap’ or ‘English R&B’ – pigeonholing yourself will only limit you. Music is universal. I don’t care if it’s from Mars – if it’s good, it’s good.”

The emcee, who intends to set up a similar project in New York, also discussed the perils of the music industry. He said: “It’s 99 per cent business and one per cent music. It’s not really how good you are but how many people you know. So don’t show up at record companies saying, ‘Hey, I’m a dope rapper, sign me’ – you have to know how to present yourself as a valid business prospect.” Jeru – who has recently released an album on his KnowSavage label – added: “The ultimate goal is to own your own record company, ‘cos that’s when you get paid.”

Programmer Sparkii was delighted by the rapport between Jeru and the students: “There’s so much talent here, and we’re trying to show the kids that there’s no difference between east London or east New York.

To jump to DJ Pogo‘s official site, [url=]click here…