Jurassic 5 @ The Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver    
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written by Phayde    
Los Angeles-based Jurassic 5 took Vancouver by storm at their sell-out show Friday, October 18th (2002), with an equally crowd-moving repeat performance Sunday night at the Commodore Ballroom.

Consisting of MCs Chali 2na, Zaakir (Soup), Akil and Marc 7 and DJs Cut Chemist and Nu-Mark, J5 emanated a genuine and remarkable vibe that proved the group was, is, and always will be, loyal to the true art and essence of hip-hop.

Living up to the original old-school flavour that they are best known for, J5 drove the crowd wild by spontaneously busting out unconventional instruments, with everything from generating unbelievable beats on Fisher-Price like toys, to Cut Chemist and Nu-Mark scratching a turntable and drum-programming machine worn around their necks, to simply letting it all out on the drums.

Promoting their new album Power in Numbers that was released October 8, new material off the album was performed such as "High Fidelity" and their upbeat new single "What's Golden." Of course, J5 classics such as "Quality Control" and "Concrete Schoolyard" were also performed, hyping up the crowd to jump and chant along, losing themselves in the magic that is Jurassic 5. After an extraordinary set that ran for a short but jam-packed two hours, J5 stayed behind to sign autographs and converse with fans for over an hour. It is this level-headed and down-to-earth side of the group that proves they are living up to Akil's line in "What's Golden" that asserts, "We still the same with a little fame/a little change and a household name/but ain't too much changed."

The group formed in 1993 as the union between two separate hip-hop groups, Rebels of Rhythm and Unity Committee. The two groups together came out with "Unified Rebelution," a single that made a deep impression on true hip-hop heads worldwide. It was because of that extraordinary success that they decided to form Jurassic 5.

Their latest album, "Power In Numbers," features a limited DVD version that contains footage of the group behind-the-scenes.

On both Friday and Sunday night, Jurassic 5 was preceded by Sweatshop Union, the seven-member group that replaced Planet Asia for the tour of the West Coast due to illness. Coming from Underworld Inc. Records (a Battle Axe subsidiary with International Distribution), the Vancouver-based group performed numbers such as "The Truth We Speak," which received a Videofact grant (Music Channel sponsored grant) in January 2002.

Sweatshop Union is the combined result of four separate hip hop groups: Dirty Circus, Kyprios, Innocent Bystanders, and Creative Minds. Each group already having respectable accomplishments under their belts, Sweatshop Union emits distinct and diverse styles that somehow blend together perfectly to form a well-balanced and fluid sound.

Sweatshop Union's self-titled album was released September 2nd, and is available in music stores everywhere. It consists of tracks from each of the four groups, and is available on both CD and vinyl.

* All photos taken by Phayde. Not to be reproduced without discussed consent.

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