Artist: Jurassic 5Title: FeedbackRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Kathy Iandoli
For years, Jurassic 5 has made an art out of providing quality Hip-Hop in layman's terms. Shunning utter complexity, but still spouting social commentary, the LA collective retains all that is sacred from the old schoolyard ciphers combined with an urban trail mix vibe. While the crew has remained proudly consistent throughout their indie-turned-major metamorphosis, their latest effort Feedback (Interscope) hosts unchartered territory and is an ambitious step
forward for the melody makers.
Comprised of Akil, Chali2Na, Marc 7, Zaakir, and DJ Nu-Mark (Cut Chemist has moved on), Jurassic 5 hold a unique position in the world of Hip-Hop. Like the Roots, the quintet offers a generous portion of live heat, which garners a concert-supporting fanbase sans record sales. Their major label debut Quality Control brought some well-deserved attention, especially with its title track. By the time Power In Numbers reached the record stands, the group was collaborating with Nelly Furtado on the love-struggling "Thin Line." Known for their word-for-word verses and hooks sung in unison, Jurassic 5 had a significant number of disciples
anxiously awaiting Feedback.
J5's latest is a collection of tracks with some comprehensive beats enveloping the pleasantly simplistic lyrics of the four MCs. While mediocre acts cough up bundles for top of the line producers and create train wrecks, J5 molds a perfect fit to the A-list beatmakers they've courted for this project. Scott Storch does what Scott Storch does on the string-heavy "Brown Girl" featuring Brick & Lace. While the rhythm-trio seductively slides through the hook, there's
some unnecessary nasality going on. On "Radio," Salaam Remi swung the pendulum towards an old school renaissance with his made-for-boombox production. Akil embraces every braggin' rite he can find as Chali2Na's vocals are so textured you can slice them and serve them at a family barbecue. Their single "Work it Out" features their touring partners, Dave Matthews Band, and Nu-Mark produced the hell out of "Future Sound" and "Where We At." Another pauseworthy track is "End Up Like This" where the group reflects on the light-hearted days of the past.
Jurassic 5 are undoubtedly staple soldiers in the love movement, and with some modifications, continue along that thread with Feedback. While Nu-Mark's evolved production with a touch of "Storchiness" may make them more commercially viable, the successful transition from the stage to the iPod still remains uncertain.