Jurassic 5 | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Jurassic 5 

JURASSIC 5

On its new album, Quality Control (Interscope), the LA hip-hop outfit Jurassic 5 dares to reclaim an element of the music that's been abandoned in favor of verbal skill, technical showboating, and macho posturing--entertainment. MCs Chali 2na, Zaakir, Akil, and Marc 7 are aiming well beyond the "keep it real" crowd (they've even toured with Fiona Apple), yet they never sacrifice the fundamentals or succumb to gangsta cliches or Puff Daddy gloss. With their unison vocal chants, linear tumble of samples (courtesy of DJs Cut Chemist and Nu-Mark), and supremely musical rhyming, Jurassic 5 still remember the old-school days, when hip-hop was more about the party than the potty. They supply some swell basketball metaphors for their rapping on "The Game" and equate hip-hop pretenders with artificial Hollywood on "Lausd." "Contribution" summons up alt-rap's long-forgotten social conscience by suggesting that people stop complaining and take action. But Cut Chemist's puzzle-piece constructions tilt the sound away from pure nostalgia, drawing on everything from the gee-whiz drumming of Sandy Nelson on the swing showpiece "Swing Set" to the white-bread harmonizing of the Hi-Lo's (which elicits some wordless quasi-doowop riffing from the group). The new record isn't as strong as J5's 1997 debut EP, but it's still a blast. Dilated Peoples (see Spot Check) and the World Famous Beat Junkies open. Wednesday, 7 PM, the Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield; 773-472-0449 or 312-559-1212.

PETER MARGASAK

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/B+.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Popular Stories

  • A silence louder than words

    How allegations of sexual abuse exposed cracks in the foundation of Young Chicago Authors, Free Write Arts & Literacy, and the city’s spoken word community
    |
  • Weed Wolf, the tagger

    'No matter how lame or artsy-fartsy it is, I'll take anything over a poo-brown wall'
  • Book It

    New and recent book releases from Chicago authors and publishers
    |
  • Comedy is back, baby!

    A glimpse at how stand-ups coped during the pandemic and made their triumphant return to telling jokes again.
    |