PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.

Jurassic 5: Feedback

With their third full-length release, Feedback, Jurassic 5 won't disappoint fans, but they all but guarantee that they'll never produce the 'Future Sound' they've been promising for the last decade.

Jurassic 5


Label: Interscope
US Release Date: 2006-07-25
UK Release Date: 2006-07-24

Ok, I get it. Jurassic 5 dig the old school.

They long for the days of Kangols and shell toes. The days when Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa, and Run DMC ruled their respective arenas. The days when bugged-out break beats bumped out of boom boxes. When graffiti writers were the artistic voice of the inner city. The days when the culture of hip-hop was cultivated.

Jurassic 5 have made that point clear since they dropped their much lauded self-titled EP in 1997. They were part of the new underground, the artistic hip-hop mini-movement that rose as a response to the thug rappers dominating the scene in the mid-'90s. These brash young MCs and DJs like Mos Def and Kool Keith stressed the style over attitude and thought over bravado.

But where Mos and Kool moved as trendsetters and innovators, attempting to apply their roots to the hip-hop scene rapidly moving and evolving around them, J-5 stayed put, happy to lounge in their lawn chairs and watch the world go by from the comfort of their 1983 perspective.

With their third full-length release, Feedback, Jurassic 5 won't disappoint fans, but they all but guarantee that they'll never produce the "Future Sound" they've been promising for the last decade.

They still provide the same caffinated lyrical baton passing that would lay waste to most MCs. DJ Nu-Mark and his seemingly endless collection of records from which he creates samples lays down the same intricate yet lo-fi production leaving plenty of room for their crew's flow to roam.

No one doubts that the talent's there. They're just not using it.

For the most part Feedback is old-hat and predictable, a watered-down facsimile of their previous work. It offers 15 tracks that cover all of the prerequisites of a Jurassic 5 album. They provide tracks displaying their love for women in the most tasteful way possible ("Brown Girl"), talking about the old days ("Radio"), and self-reflection, both against the backdrop of a bigger picture ("End Up Like This") and within the boundaries of their own lives ("Get it Together").

However, the most insidiously irritating aspect of the album is J-5's insistence that nothing notable has been produced by the hip-hop community since the mid-to-late '80s. They spend much of "Where We At" lamenting the rise of thug rap, which by their estimation seems to include every hip-hop record released since 1993, sounding bitter that after 10 years and three albums they don't receive the same airplay as some of their flashier contemporaries.

According to them, if they rapped about guns, womanizing, and violence, they'd be kings of the hip-hop universe. Right. Because clearly if you were to throw tits and ass into any Jurassic 5 track, it'd be certified club-bumping gold.

Admittedly, artists like Public Enemy might have had a more volatile political landscape to work with, but something must have happened in the last decade that can create more compelling material than this. It's one thing to break onto the scene and make sensationalistic claims of being the saviors of hip-hop, but when your third album drops and the best social or political commentary you can muster is that you're getting older and radio rap sucks, its time to regroup.

Masking contempt for other's work under the guise of "keeping it real" isn't just tired, it's petty. Someone needs to get these guys an I-pod, because the hip-hop globe didn't stop turning when Jurassic 5 chose to stop paying attention.

Jurassic 5 with Dave Matthews Band - Work It Out


Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.





Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.


15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.


Sixteen Years Later Wayne Payne Follows Up His Debut

Waylon Payne details a journey from addiction to redemption on Blue Eyes, The Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher & Me, his first album since his 2004 debut.


Every Song on the Phoenix Foundation's 'Friend Ship' Is a Stand-Out

Friend Ship is the Phoenix Foundation's most personal work and also their most engaging since their 2010 classic, Buffalo.


Kevin Morby Gets Back to Basics on 'Sundowner'

On Sundowner, Kevin Morby sings of valleys, broken stars, pale nights, and the midwestern American sun. Most of the time, he's alone with his guitar and a haunting mellotron.


Lydia Loveless Creates Her Most Personal Album with 'Daughter'

Given the turmoil of the era, you might expect Lydia Loveless to lean into the anger, amplifying the electric guitar side of her cowpunk. Instead, she created a personal record with a full range of moods, still full of her typical wit.


Flowers for Hermes: An Interview with Performing Activist André De Shields

From creating the title role in The Wiz to winning an Emmy for Ain't Misbehavin', André De Shields reflects on his roles in more than four decades of iconic musicals, including the GRAMMY and Tony Award-winning Hadestown.


The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.


British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.


Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.


​Patrick Cowley Remade Funk and Disco on 'Some Funkettes'

Patrick Cowley's Some Funkettes sports instrumental renditions from between 1975-1977 of songs previously made popular by Donna Summer, Herbie Hancock, the Temptations, and others.


The Top 10 Definitive Breakup Albums

When you feel bombarded with overpriced consumerism disguised as love, here are ten albums that look at love's hangover.


Dustin Laurenzi's Natural Language Digs Deep Into the Jazz Quartet Format with 'A Time and a Place'

Restless tenor saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi runs his four-piece combo through some thrilling jazz excursions on a fascinating new album, A Time and a Place.


How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.


Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.


CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.


Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.


While the Sun Shines: An Interview with Composer Joe Wong

Joe Wong, the composer behind Netflix's Russian Doll and Master of None, articulates personal grief and grappling with artistic fulfillment into a sweeping debut album.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.