Jurassic 5 flexed serious old-to-the-new muscles in the 90s, beginning with their independently released single Unified Rebelution in 1994, and book-ending with their stellar debut full-length: 2000s Quality Control. They walked a tightrope between underground and mainstream hip-hop, and toured alongside rap peers as well as punk rockers on the Vans Warped Tour.
With double the pleasure of your average hip-hop group – two DJs and producers (Cut Chemist and DJ Nu-Mark); and four MCs (Chali 2na, Akil, Marc 7 and Zaakir aka Soup) – they brought the late 1970s unison MC style of pioneering groups like the Fantastic 5 and the Force MCs to a new generation. Even more surprisingly, they did so out of Los Angeles, whose hip-hop flavors generally leaned towards Gangsta, G-Funk or Electro lines. Musically inventive and lyrically forward-thinking, each song on Quality Control is a new adventure, exploring engaging territory, delivered via one of the best live hip-hop shows fans had seen in years.
From singles like the strutting groove of the title track to the throwback doo-wop samples on The Influence and the catchy, keyboard groove-driven World of Entertainment (WOE Is Me), to deeper album tracks like the lyrical gymnastics of Jurass Finish First and the thought-provoking Lausd, Jurassic 5 consistently stepped to the plate and their fans responded in kind, nearly pushing the album to Gold status. Add the innovative DJ-and-sample workout which closes out the album, Swing Set, and you have one of the 2000s most unique and solid full-length platters. In June 2000, almost seven years after their formation, underground rap's most lauded crew finally hit with a full-length. Great expectations aside, Quality Control hits all the same highs as Jurassic 5's excellent EP of three years earlier, stretching out their résumé to nearly an hour with a few turntablist jaunts from resident beat-jugglers DJ Nu-Mark and Cut Chemist. The formula is very similar to the EP, with the group usually going through a couple of lines of five-man harmonics before splitting off for tongue-twister solos from Zaakir, Chali 2na, Akil, and Marc 7even. As expected, there are plenty of nods to old-school rap, from "Lausd," with its brief tribute to hip-hop classic "The Bridge" by MC Shan, to "Monkey Bars," where the group claim inspiration (yet just a bit of distance) from their heroes: "Now you know us but it's not the Cold Crush, four MCs so it ain't the Furious/Not the Force M.D.'s or the three from Treacherous, it's a blast from the past from the moment we bust." Where Quality Control really laps previous Jurassic 5 material is not only the lyrical material, though, but the themes and focus of the message tracks "Lausd," "World of Entertainment (Woe Is Me)," and "Contribution." The 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. (Just check out the lyrics to any of the above three at an online archive like www.ohhla.com.) Though critics and uptight rap purists might fault them for not pushing the progression angle enough, Jurassic 5's rhymes are so devastating and the productions (by Nu-Mark and Cut Chemist) follow the raps so closely it certainly doesn't matter whether the group is old-school or not.
Track Listing: A1 How We Get Along (Intro) A2 The Influence A3 Great Expectations A4 Quality Control (Intro) A5 Quality Control B1 Contact B2 Lausd B3 W.O.E Is Me (World Of Entertainment) B4 Monkey Bars (Vocal) C1 Jurass Finish First C2 Contribution C3 Twelve D1 The Game D2 Concrete And Clay D3 Swing Set