Many times as fans and critics we forget what music is all about; music is captivating. It is something that captures moments and freezes them in time. It is something that captivates our minds, shapes our image, and controls our lifestyles. Jurassic 5 is one of those few; unique groups that capture this essence. They are one of the few truly original groups, consisting of old school throw back sounds and perfect blends of harmony and group control. They can either captivate you with their "cold crush" type harmony and flow, their outstanding charisma and stage presence, or just their ability to translate everyday life occurrences into fresh and unique songs. Simply put, Jurassic 5 isn't your ordinary Hip-Hop group.
While J5 has been in the Hip Hop game for a minute now, most fans caught onto the band wagon with their 2000 full length debut "Quality Control". Hailed as an underground classic, "Quality Control" was a breath of fresh air in a time where the same pungent smells consumed Hip-Hop. Most fans were amazed at their "old school" sound and total group presence, bringing in comparisons to legendary groups such as The Cold Crush Brothers. While their sound was different, fans immediately picked up on it and realized that this crew was beyond the standards of normalcy in Hip-Hop at the time. Their lead single "Quality Control" received some big airtime on MTV making their fan base grow everyday. Mainstream wise, J5 really took off in the early days of MTV's "Direct Effect". Pitting Hip Hop videos against each other and allowing the fans to vote for which one they like, J5 became somewhat of underground heroes on the show, constantly beating out the competition. This proved that just because J5 was labeled as an underground group that their sound couldn't be appealing to a large crowd. Sometimes good music is enough to spring your career, and that's exactly what happened to J5.
Well two years have passed since their full length debut (their actual debut was 1999's self titled EP), Jurassic 5 is back again and poised to show the industry what exactly is real Hip Hop. While "Quality Control" was totally new and innovative, "Power In Numbers" builds on that format and takes it to the next level. As any great group does, J5 never lives in the past and didn't try and duplicate the same sound for "Power In Numbers". Instead they took their formula, spiced it up and reinvented themselves again.
With "Power In Numbers" J5 sticks to what they do best, but updates their sound and puts more variety in their topics and songs. There are numerous tracks which display J5's reborn sound such as the story telling anthem of "Remember His Name" the soulful sounds of "Hey", and "Thin Line" featuring Nelly Fertado. "Hey" and "Thin Line" are probably the two-standout tracks when it comes to different sounds as both show how far J5 has progressed. Don't be quick to label them as underground artists, as they prove they know how to make great songs as well as Hip-Hop anthems. "Hey" is a softer sounding J5 than normal, consisting of a smooth serenade of R&B influenced sounds. However, don't get the wrong idea, the track is vintage J5 material as is "Thin Line" featuring Nelly Fertado. While many will get the wrong idea about this track, don't. This isn't a pop track, its true Hip-Hop. The presence of Nelly Fertado just adds to the tracks soulful equation, as the love inspired song is mind-blowing.
But beyond all of that, "Power In Numbers" is filled with classic Jurassic 5 material that we all have loved since day one. The lead single "What's Golden" is already one of the years best tracks as it is getting major airplay on video stations all over. "Freedom" is a masterful DJ Nu-Mark produced track that utilizes a magnificent sample. "A Day At The Races" is a perfect old school throwback of sorts featuring Percy P and the legend himself Big Daddy Kane". Each emcee viciously rips through the track with ease, especially Chali 2na and Big Daddy Kane, who both posses sick sick flows and lyricism.
Surprisingly, J5 went out and brought in JuJu of the Beatnuts to produce two tracks "One Of Them" and "If You Only Knew", further proving J5's elevation in this rap game. Both tracks feature vintage Beatnuts production as JuJu laces a softer feel for "If You Only Knew" but returns to his roots for "One Of Them".
In the end "Power In Numbers" ends up as one of the years finest albums. There are really no standout aspects of the album as all aspects are equally outstanding. From the production, to each emcees flow and lyricism, it all adds up to a gem of an album. Still, J5's centerpiece is going to be their originality and group presence on the mic, and rightfully so. With "Power In Numbers", Jurassic 5 solidifies their spot as one of Hip-Hop finest groups.