A lot can happen to a hip-hop group in four years. Group infighting,
deterioration of skill, loss of energy... Thankfully, the only thing
different about Jurassic 5 since their 2002 album "Power in Numbers" is
that they now actually have five members. On "Feedback", they are still
the same lyrically dope, charismatic MCs with smooth deliveries and an
undeniable chemistry. Chali 2na, the deep voiced rapper with the best
delivery in the group, is still in top form. I’ve always been
entertained by his creative (although sometimes unconventional)
metaphors, and on this album he’s still “the lyrical giraffe” and
“taking it back like a dressing room”.
The departure of the immensely talented producer Cut Chemist had raised
questions about whether “Feedback” would be able to match the quality of
their older material. Truthfully, he is not missed for a second, as DJ
Nu-Mark holds it down for half the album and the group brings in outside
producers to handle the rest. What results is the most sonically diverse
album J5 has ever made. Even with the diversity, the album manages to
sound cohesive, flowing from one track to the next in a logical,
pleasing way. It is evident that meticulous care went into every minute
detail of each song in order for "Feedback" to sound exactly the way J5
intended, and the result is a surprisingly carefree, effortless sound.
With that being said, this is one of the most enjoyable, fun hip-hop
albums I’ve heard in a long time.
A topic J5 has shied away from in the past has finally made its way into
their songs: Women! "Baby Please," quite possibly the best song on the
album, has J5 spitting double-time rhymes about women that are
“half-amazing/half crazy” over a sick beat that flips an old Al Green
sample in a unique way (listen to those electric guitar stabs).
The Scott Storch produced “Brown Girl” is their best attempt at a Black
Eyed Peas impersonation, and they manage to outshine the efforts of
their peers with their superior lyricism and cohesiveness.
The group is also evolving to be more socially conscious. On “Gotta
Understand”, and “Get it Together”, they succeed in teach some life
lessons without sounding too preachy. On the other hand, their
collaboration with Dave Matthews, “Work it Out”, where they urge people
to continue in the path of their dreams, sounds uninspired and even a
In the end, Jurassic 5 is in their element spitting darts of intricate
wordplay over high energy tracks, as seen on “Future Sound” and “Red
Hot”. The latter in particular is classic J5. With organic but grimy
production and lyrical highlights by each member, it is sure to become a
staple at their live show (if you haven’t seem them live yet, do
yourself a favor and get a ticket soon).
From start to finish, Jurassic 5 has succeeded in making one of the
best albums of 2006. Hopefully we won’t have to wait until 2010 for the