Since the release of their debut, 1997's widely popular "J5 EP
," these six (like their Detroit peers Dirty Dozen
, the numbers don’t match the name) LA residents have been in danger of being pigeonholed as an "old-school" group. The way they re-create the early-’80s wild style is admirable, but are they just a hip-hop version of Las Vegas nostalgia revues? Quality Control
should silence all doubters. The lyrics are more furious, the choruses tighter, and the production by DJs Cut Chemist and Nu-Mark is pure brilliance. "Doo Wop" has Chali 2na, Mark 7even, Daakir and Akil harmonizing and rhyming over the top of barbershop-quartet-style crooning; the title track sounds like an in-studio party, complete with claps, yells and background chatter; and the instrumental creation, "Swingset," should put the nouveau-swing groups to shame. This album shows that sampling is still alive and well, as elements from the past are pieced together to make new music and not just with a SP1200 and turntables. The Jurassic Five have taken the old and crafted a style of their own, and that’s art in its finest form.
Luke Forrest writes about music for the Metro Times. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.