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Jurassic 5 - Feedback

Jurassic 5, Feedback

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 5 out of 5

JURASSIC 5 put together one of hip-hop’s seminal records when they dropped Concrete Schoolyard back in the day.

The track is timeless, mixing the best elements of old-skool hip-hop without resorting to the bling-fixated excesses of a lot of today’s contemporaries.

Well, Jurassic 5 are back after a three year hiatus and it’s satisfying to be able to report that the vibe surrounding them remains as hip and essential as ever.

Feedback is a fantastic hip-hop record – one that revels in traditional values that place the music above all things. Hence, there’s funky samples, diverse collaborations, some superb rhyming and an overall vibe that’s definitely geared towards the feel-good.

The quartet vocal tag team – Chali 2na, Marc 7, Akil, Zaakir (Soup) and DJ/producer Nu-Mark (minus Cut Chemist) – are all form, mixing their soulful harmonising with some sparkling turntable skills and some slick production from the likes of Scott Storch, Salaam Remi, Exile and Bean One.

Across a mighty 16 tracks, the album never skips a beat, easing from one prospective anthem to the next with effortless aplomb and sweeping the genuine hip-hop connoisseur along on a glorious musical journey.

From the opening piano chords of Back 4 U and its hip, foot-tapping beat and vocal layering through to the exclusive live version of A Day At The Races (recorded live at Brixton), the hits just keep on coming.

Second track Radio works around a much more contemporary beat that’s perfectly suited to the modern market, while Brick & Lace contribute some sassy female harmonies on Brown Girl, one of several undisputed highlights.

Noteworthy, too, is the forthcoming single, Work It Out, which drops a much slower beat and features a surprise chorus by American stadium-fillers, the Dave Matthews Band, which came together as a result of the two bands touring together recently.

Listen carefully and it hints at the majestic highs of Concrete Schoolyard, albeit with a compelling blend of Dave Matthews’ bluesy vocals and guitars. It’s a supremely classy effort.

Another instant classic is Get It Together, a track that’s dripping in some snappy piano chords and a smart homage to The Beatles’ Come Together.

While hip-hop purists are certain to revel in Future Sound thanks to a welcome guest appearance from Mos Def and another sharp blend of guitar riffs, snappy beats and well-judged samples (this time from The Roots).

Late on, there’s even a warm, friendly Latin American vibe to Canto De Ossanha which draws things to a supremely upbeat and satisfying close, proving (if any were needed) that Jurassic 5 have lost none of their ability to entertain the hip-hop fraternity while extending their reach across genres.

Feedback is, ultimately, a breath of fresh air in a hip-hop climate that’s overly dominated by lazy collaborations and over-familiar themes of hardship, violence and material possessions.

It’s an album to revel in and cherish as a reminder of a time when hip-hop was all about the music rather than personalities. For Jurassic 5, it’s another masterpiece.

Track listing:

  1. Back 4 You
  2. Radio [Production: salaamremi.com]
  3. Brown Girl (Suga Plum)-Feat. Brick & Lace [Production: Scott Storch]
  4. Gotta Understand [Production: Bean One]
  5. In The House
  6. Baby Please [Production: Exile]
  7. Work It Out-Feat. Dave Matthews Band
  8. Where We At-Feat. Mos Def
  9. Get It Together [Production: salaamremi.com]
  10. Future Sound
  11. J Resume [Skit]
  12. Red Hot
  13. Turn It Out
  14. End Up Like This [Production: salaamremi.com]
  15. Canto De Ossanha
  16. A Day At The Races [Live At Brixton Academy – Exclusive Bonus Track]