In these days of big chains, big trucks, and obsession with material possessions, comes a fresh breeze from the west to break up this monotony. That breeze comes in the form of four MC's and two DJ's. Jurassic 5, a long time member of the L.A. underground, has come up to provide a breath of fresh air on the hip-hop scene. DJ Nu-Mark, and Cut Chemist make up this unique group. J5 brings fans back to the days when rappers celebrated their skills and the art that they were making. The vocals blend hip-hop with a melodic tone similar to the doo-wop of yesteryear. The quartet of MC's Chali 2na, Zaakir, Marc 7, Akil, are strong as individuals, but when united they form a powerful and rhythmic force that is unmatched in the hip-hop nation. Behind the vocalists are two of the best and most creative DJ's in the business. DJ Nu-Mark and Cut Chemist, unlike most DJ's, create music and not just play the records while accompanying the MC's. Nu-Mark and Cut Chemist blend hip-hop beats with a variety of music. They may use anything from 20's jazz to more modern forms, like reggae. The combination of the MC's and DJ's pushes J5 to the head of the class.
Jurassic 5 has been on the scene for a while now. It has taken three albums for them to gain their just rewards. I can remember hearing "Jayou" off their self-titled EP. I was taken in by that song. I have since been a fan of their music. "Quality Control" and "Power in Numbers" are their second and third records following up there EP. All three LP's are quality productions that never get played out, no matter how many times you listen to them. Listening to their CD's is entertaining enough at least that is what I thought. It was the summer of 2000 ,when I had my first opportunity to see J5 live on stage. They, along with another great group, Dilated Peoples, rocked the stage at the Van's Warped Tour. I had been to many hip-hop concerts before this, but this one definitely stood out. Since that concert, I have been sure to go to every show that they put on in the Windy City. This includes the show last week at the House of Blues.
On April 16th, The J5 blew the roof off the House of Blues- Chicago. Performing in front of a capacity crowd, the J5 gave a show that is indicative of their creativity and style. The group performed all their past and present hits. The biggest crowd reactions came from the performing of: "Jayou", "Quality Control", "Jurass Finish First", and "What's Golden?" The MC's got the crowd involved by eliciting crowd response with various cues. The biggest response came whenever Chali 2na would say, in his trademark deep voice, "Chicago." Many times MC's who mention the town they were in would get a response because the fans wanted to show them who they were. In Chali 2na's case, the response was boisterous because of his ties to the city. Chali 2na played to his hometown crowd that included fans, family, and friends. Besides the MC's, the DJ's shined as well. Cut Chemist and Nu-Mark wowed the crowd with their turntable abilities. That was not all though; the DJ's have a unique way of creating beats and rhythms. This was evident at the show as well. While Cut Chemist spun a record, Nu-Mark played beats on a school desk, bringing back memories of sitting in study hall listening to the students rapping over their "desk-beats." Cut Chemist did his usual awesome performance on the portable turntable. The most interesting thing innovation that they brought out was a device that looked like some sort of child's toy. Nu-Mark produced rhythms and scratches with this toy-like device, while Cut Chemist scratched over their cut "Swing Set", off the "Quality Control" LP. Cut Chemist and Nu-Mark the catalysts for the great live performances that J5 gives. The evening was capped by a freestyle session that included the four MC's, but some members of their crew got involved as well. All the freestyles were excellent, including those done by the female MC's. This was a perfect ending to the performance, the art of free styling.
The House of Blues is always a good place to see a show. It's very lofty, but the crowd gets to stand up close and personal. The show was scheduled to start at 9:00, and to my surprise it started at 9:30. This was surprising because it was one of the only times that the crowd didn't have to wait an hour or more past the start time for the show to begin. The J5 performed for about an hour and a half. This shows their devotion to giving 100% at each and every show. The most impressive thing about the show occurred afterwards. The group stayed out on the stage for a good amount of time to meet fans and sign autographs. This dedication to the fans is the reason why many people, including myself, go to the concerts and buy their CD's. To see a J5 concert is a chance to experience something new and unique. I will recommend to anyone, even if they are not hip-hop fans, to check out their music as well as their live shows.
Reviewed by: Robert Brogi
Robert Brogi is a contributing writer to UnRated Magazine
Related Links Jurassic 5 Official Web Site