My experience with Jurassic 5 is similar to that of a movie fan who read a novel before seeing the movie version of the story and concluding that the movie does not live up to the quality of the book. After hearing the group’s first full length CD, Quality Control, I’m left with more questions than answers.
In my case, I saw Jurassic 5 in concert (see review) before hearing their CD. The group, which consists of four MCs and two DJs, generated positive energy unlike any that I’ve ever experienced at any concert. After the show ended, a friend of mine said you could see the guys were having the time of their lives.
I bought the CD and, so far, it hasn’t lived up to the quality of their concert performance. The songs sounds flat. I’m finding fault with a CD that made several “best of” lists. Are my criticisms legitimate? I can forgive a weak live performance by a solid performer who makes great music, but if the group rocks in concert but is only slightly above average on CD, is it due to my bias or is the CD truly flawed?
The subject matter of many of the songs, while extremely well executed, focus on the group boasting about their skills. I wonder if this is a consequence of having four MCs. It might be difficult to create a consistent thematic focus when four people are contributing lyrics to a song. Unless the majority of the group’s members are geniuses (like The Beatles), a CD so dependent upon group lyrical input is likely to be uneven. Also, three producers are credited on the CD’s 15 tracks.
The last track is “Swing Set”, which, as the title indicates, is a swing-influenced hip-hop tune. Not “swing” as in “New Jack Swing”, “swing” as in Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw. On a hip-hop album. Hmmm. What does swing have to do with hip hop? Everything and nothing.
The concert review refers to the crowd’s enthusiastic response to baritone rapper Chali 2Na. I find him to be the most interesting MC on the CD in terms of vocal quality and execution. Is this due to my concert experience, or is he indeed the best MC in the group?
Jurassic 5 releases a new album, Power in Numbers on October 8th. I hope to have a better sense of the long-term potential of this group after hearing it. I already know they’re great in concert.Powered by Sidelines