In 1993 two underground hip hop crews, Rebels of Rhythm and Unity Committee, came together after hearing each other perform at the Good Life café, a hot bed of underground MCs and hip hop innovation in LA. Rebel, MCs Akil and Zaakir, started with Cut Chemist on a track, he suggested adding his crew, Unity, Cut Chemist and MCs Marc 7even and Chali 2na, and in 1995 the two crews combined to release Unified Rebelution on the underground. The track was then taken up by TVT records and proved a good local hit.

Before their next release, a self titled EP, Jurassic 5 added DJ Nu-Mark to their team making the five a six. The EP was released in 1997 to great critical acclaim and it sold over 200,000 copies in the US and UK. Harking back to old school styles the clean simple tracks had reviewers and fans yearning for the halcyon days when the music, not the image, mattered. Released on Rumble Records the EP attracted interest from Interscope and the sextet were signed later that year.

It was not until 2000 however that Jurassic 5 dropped their first full length. Building on the promise that they showed in their debut EP with more excellent old school beats and improved lyrics. They managed to gain some more mainstream success in the US but were still predominantly too clever and too elegant for the charts. They toured before the albums release with Fiona Apple and Rage Against the Machine. Quality Control marked the true establishment of Jurassic 5 as a key player in the revival of Hip Hop.

J5's emphasis on traditional Hip Hop has proved a great success. They've harked back to hip hop's roots, they insist on using a DJ whenever they record or perform, "I think DJing's more intimate, it's everything that hip-hop is based on" - Zaakir. The produce fresh Hip Hop with stunning production and beats. still has a big effect on J5 and tracks like Swing Set are a great example of what is great about hip hop, a fantastic beat combined with innovative rhymes.

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Jurassic 5 EP, 1997

Their phenomenal debut EP gives hip-hop's forgotten roots plenty of water and sunshine by matching charismatic solo rhymes and infectious group harmonies with deftly collaged beats - Rolling Stone
The most refreshing hip-hop release of the year - John Bush, AMG
  1. In the flesh
  2. Quality control part II
  3. Jayou
  4. Lesson 6
  5. Concrete schoolyard
  6. Setup
  7. Action satisfaction
  8. Sausage gut

While not a full length no less enjoyment can be gleaned from this excellent recording. There is stunning freestyle rhyming over some excellent beats. The lyrics are generally pretty meaningless (something they improve on with Quality Control) but the flow and groove is there proving that J5 have the foundation of great MCs. The DJing stands up just as well to inspection. Cut Chemist and DJ Nu-Mark do an excellent jobs with both beats for the boys and in producing tracks that would stand on their own. Characterised by old school flute and pan loops and the EP is always head nodding to the old school, most notably with Lesson 6: The Lecture.

Quality Control, 2000

Four-man crew take on major media and the responsibilities of adulthood with a degree of authority, eloquence, and compassion never before heard in rap music. - John Bush, AMG
  1. How We Got Along (Intro)
  2. The Influence
  3. Great Expectations
  4. Quality Intro
  5. Quality Control
  6. Contact
  7. Lausd
  8. World of Entertainment (WOE is Me)
  9. Monkey Bars
  10. Jurass Finish First
  11. Contribution
  12. Twelve
  13. The Game
  14. Concrete and Clay
  15. Swing Set

If you are used to mainstream hip hop this album will show you a style you have never heard before. These guys are not here to rap about their guns or their bitches, they're here to tell you how damn good they are and they're here to prove it. Prove it they do with a stunning album of beautifully produced and mixed beats combined with the intelligent lyrical machinations of their four MCs. Moving on from their debut EP J5 develop a new style, no longer just harking back to old school but moving forward to what we must hope will become the new direction for hip hop. Their insistence on using DJs is more than justified by tracks like Swing Set and Twelve. Anyone who is musically open minded and every single hip hop fan should own this album - it will give you a new perspective on hip hop and one that will leave you searching for more crews like J5.

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