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Soup (Jurassic 5) - conducted by David "D Stroyer" Streier  

Zaakir/Soup (Jurassic 5)

July 2006

The new album, "Feedback" hits stores July 25, 2006, so brace yourself; Jurassic 5 are known for their inventive beats, intelligent lyrics and old school fun. This album is sure to impress.

I sat down and rapped with Zaakir (Soup) of Jurassic 5 on Tuesday, July 11, 2006. Soup had a lot to say about the upcoming J5 album, his ideas regarding success in the music business, and working with Dave Matthews. We didn't get to discuss many specifics regarding the music on the album or their impending US tour, but we did get to some of the core philosophies J5 abides by. They make music because it's in their hearts, rushing through their veins. Their bouncing rhythms, slippery lyrics and sheer power explode from the speakers of your iPod or stereo because they are natural musicians who need to let it out.

Be sure you don't miss their live show, or you will miss a truly energy-laden, rocking, spiritual experience with the dopest MCs out there today on the scene, whether it's mainstream, old school, or underground hip-hop that you're after. Grab the new album from J5, entitled "Feedback" and enjoy it for what it's worth. These guys deserve our respect for putting it all on the line and giving their music all they've got inside their hearts and heads. Open mind recommended.

MVRemix: How are things going with you? And of course, the rest of the crew?

Soup: Everything is good, man. And all the things you're pumped about, that you just told me? We're pumped about them too.

MVRemix: Cool. It's been 4 years since the last album. How are you guys feeling about starting a new chapter in the existence of J5?

Soup: You know, it's been awhile, but at the same time we feel blessed man, because here we got another opportunity to come out and do what you like doing. And with that, you can never really look at it like, "Oh man we've been gone for a few years." Because in a perfect world, we'd be selling 50 million albums every time we came out. That's in a perfect word, but you know it's a long road ahead, you know you got to work to go where you need to go. But at the same time we're happy because a lot of people would love to be in our position right now. Yeah!

MVRemix: So it's been 4 years, but now you feel lucky, it's a feeling of excitement to be doing another album together, right?

Soup: Yeah man. Let me ask you this, Dave. How many people do you know? Maybe you can count them on five fingers, maybe five hands, maybe five people you know who said when they were young they wanted to do something they're doing. You know what I mean?

MVRemix: Yeah, that's rare.

Soup: Yeah, because first of all, I can't find five people who said, well, I want to be an engineer. Then 20 years, 30 years down the line they're an engineer. Because a lot of shit happens in your life man, where you change a lot of those plans. Maybe things happen that you can't control, or your mind changes, you don't feel the same, whatever it may be. So, you gotta look at it like that, man. With my life, you'd be crazy not to feel like (laughs) "Damn man!" Know what I'm saying? It's a hell of an opportunity. Plus I get to travel. I get to meet some people, people that I've been admiring for years. You know what I'm saying? That's great, man.

MVRemix: That sounds like the life. You guys are having a great time for sure.

Soup: People always see the finished product. They don't never see what it takes to make the cake. All you know is when you go into a place to eat, it's already there. The chef's got a whole 'nother story, cuz they got to cut it, put the right seasoning in, all we're doing is eating the finished product. A lot of people outside of it, you just hear feedback. But you didn't know, I might have had a cold, or some woman might have told me some shit I didn't really want to hear, my niece kicked me in the shin, you don't know that. You just know, man I really like that.

MVRemix: Are you tying that mentality into the album? Those ideas bring to mind the album title, Feedback.

Soup: Yeah, man, yeah.

MVRemix: As far as a state of mind. Could you explain that a little, what's the concept behind that? What kind of ideas are going into this new album?

Soup: After four years, we're putting this record out, you're gonna have feedback. So far, we're hearing stuff on both sides. We've been hearing feedback (laughs). You know, any time you put your heart on the table, people are gonna dissect it, so you know, that's what it's about. Also, you know, it takes a certain amount of feedback to get some sound out of the mic. So if you've got a definition for feedback, we can use that too!

MVRemix: Alright. So with this new album, how do you think the public, and more specifically your fan base, is going to see this album in terms of your style? I mean, is it something completely new, is it something that'll put you in a cool niche in the hip-hop world, or maybe it's just straight up, original J5 material?

Soup: You know, how I want it to come off is basically the fans dig it, it's creative. Is it original? I don't really know. Well, our first single is "Work it Out" with Dave Matthews. For a hardcore J5 fan, that might turn them off. The minute they hear it they might turn it off because they don't want to even hear that. So, I don't know as far as that. I would like for the people to just listen with an open mind. I always ask people that, every record we put out. Because sometimes it takes awhile for something to grow on you. We've never done a song like this that we did with Dave Matthews Band. A lot of people might have had expectations that just shoots down every expectation that they had, you know, with this song with Dave Matthews. I think it's a good thing for us, J5, to move onward. But at the same time, I don't want fans to just be so turned off that they don't want to go out and purchase the record because of one single. And people do that nowadays. People won't take in the credit for all the stuff that we did prior.

MVRemix: Yeah, well me and a lot of people I know give you credit for taking a fresh approach, for trying something new. As a fan of yours and of Dave Matthews, I don't see how anyone on either side can put you down for at least trying. And I've heard the song and I like it. It sounds awesome. I know people will judge you based on whatever you have out right now, but that's cool that you're willing to work with artists that aren't necessarily in the same category that's placed on you.

Soup: Right! And it's a different thing because it's Dave Matthews. It's not like it's Mariah Carey...or Beyonce. Somebody that you know is hot right off the bat. It's Dave Matthews. I don't think that any MC thought of Dave Matthews to collaborate with. So it's a different twist. I hope people like it, Dave, I can't say for sure. I don't think it's a bad song, trust me. I turn on my radio every day, like a whole lot of people do. I hear some bad shit.

MVRemix: Yeah! Right, right! And I would love to hear you guys on the radio all the time, because all the rest just pales in comparison. But you know you're not going to be hearing J5 on the radio all the time because you're still kind of classified as underground. How do you find a balance between that commercial success and making it big, which you guys have, yet still staying low key? It's like you guys are still keeping it real.

Soup: We make records and we're not trying to keep it real. We make what we like. We make what we think sounds good. So to say "You're not on the radio, you're keeping it real" or "not keeping it real", we don't really have that mindset. We just do what we do. Trust me, if the radio picks up the single and starts playing it, I'm not going to call the radio station and say "Stop playing it". We don't have a master plan of staying underground. Once the record's out man, you throw it up against the wall.

MVRemix: I know what you're saying.

Soup: To be honest with you, I don't really know if Tone Loc knew that "Wild Thing" would be a big hit. I don't know if Sir Mix-a-Lot, when he came out with "Baby Got Back", I don't know if he thought that would win him a Grammy, you know what I'm sayin'! (both laugh)

MVRemix: It just worked out that way, right?

Soup: You just throw your shit up and you hope people get with it. That's what we do every time out, and hopefully, I want as many people as possible to get with what we do. If we throw a Dave Matthews song out here and it picks up and people want to play it a hundred, countless amount of times on the radio, and when it comes on you turn it off and you throw up because you're just tired of hearing it, I'm happy of that! Because I lived the other side. I know how it feels to be underground. I know how it feels to not be on the radio and not be on everybody's radar. I know that aspect of the game. But I don't want to be one-sided. I don't want to be one-dimensional. I don't want to just be an underground artist, saying "oh you know, I'm just trying to keep it real". Keeping it real for me is just being successful in life, it don't get no more real than that! I just want people to like this shit, man!

MVRemix: You guys must be having fun now, right?

Soup: Yeah, yeah.

MVRemix: How long did you work on the album?

Soup: Shit man, over the last four years. We had some stuff we each wanted to do. And it was all of us, the guys, Cut Chemist, Nu-Mark, we was going to try doing this record, but other people had obligations that was understandable. Nu-Mark was giving us music, and Cut Chemist was giving us music. At the time it was like, yeah we kinda want to branch out with these other producers. And I wasn't really comfortable getting stuck because one person didn't want to do something. I didn't want the train to stop moving because this person didn't want to do something. So we branched out and started going to our other producers, and that's when the record really started picking up. That's when songs were really getting done at a breakneck speed. Once that happened, we were able to do it and now we're putting the album out.

MVRemix: Which producers did you guys work with on this album?

Soup: We worked with Scott Storch, Salaam Remi, this guy named Bean One, this other cat named Exile and Nu-Mark did about 7 of them.

MVRemix: Ok, cool. So I expect a few different flavors on the album.

Soup: Yep, definitely yes.

MVRemix: Well, I look forward to it and can't wait to hear it. Can't wait to see you guys in Minneapolis.

Soup: Oh, thank you very much. That's First Avenue, right?

MVRemix: First Avenue, man, it's legendary!

Soup: As many times as you know Prince sang "Purple Rain" you know it's legendary!

MVRemix: Oh, he was there for sure, many times.

Soup: Anything by Prince is legendary to me. For sure, man.

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"Trust me, if the radio picks up the single and starts playing it, I'm not going to call the radio station and say "Stop playing it". We don't have a master plan of staying underground. Once the record's out man, you throw it up against the wall."