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Jurassic 5 - Power in Numbers Print E-mail
Tuesday, 08 October 2002

Jurassic 5

Power In Numbers
format: CD
label: Interscope Records
release year: 2002
performance: 9
sound 7
reviewed by: Paul Lingus

ImageFrom its fun, up-tempo beats to its soulful, moody tracks, there is something on Power in Numbers for everyone. The lyricism of the four MCs -- Zaakir, Chali 2na, Akil, and Marc 7 -- is very appealing. Not only are the beats hypnotic at any speed, but each one of them has a distinctiveness to their voices that lends to a wonderful blending of sounds. DJs Nu-Mark and Cut Chemist keep everything new and funky.

A lot of critics and fans have said that the L.A.-based Jurassic 5 (J5) is old school in their beats and overall musical style. They do indeed have a lot of retro jazzy and hip hop rhythms and cues, such as in “If You Only Knew,” which has a steady, slow beat, with a flute twittering around as the main background melody. It reminds one of a lazy summer day spent in a New York park. What I really like about Power in Numbers is the occasional use of horns, flutes, organs, and other instruments that hearken back to the early days of 1970s hip hop that used jazz as a root of inspiration.

“One of Them” could be considered a throwback to harder gangsta rap. “A Day at the Races” is a fun, fast song, featuring Percee P and Big Daddy Kane. It has a simple and throbbing guitar bass and a funky strummed riff that breaks in at regular intervals. The music is really simple but very appealing, leaving room for the two MCs to work their magic. “Acetate Prophets” concludes the album with more quick beats, punctuated by ethnic-sounding vocals and musical interludes. If you want some more funky stuff, it’s given to you with “Remember His Name,” “What’s Golden” and “After School Special.” These tracks make you want to walk around bobbing your head like a psychotic bird (or something to that effect). “Thin Line,” featuring Nelly Furtado, and “Hey” are melodious, soulful, mellow and moody tracks that help to complete the album.

Included with the CD is a DVD that features three separate featurettes. The first two follow each of the six band members around their neighborhoods, houses, or work areas. It is a nicely relaxed and intimate look at the guys, and allows us to see them as real people. It’s also got a short video of a live performance. It all helps us to get to know Jurassic 5 better, and I thought it was really interesting, since it’s rare to get a notion of who the people in any band or group are, beyond their stage personas.

A lot of people think that hip hop means the music has to be ultra-aggressive, either musically, lyrically, or both. But while J5 has really good up-tempo beats, there is something slightly laid back in Power in Numbers, as if they are most interested in making good music. This sentiment is voiced by Marc 7: “We’re striving for consistency, to make a solid record every time out.” You can tell that there was a lot of work put into this album, from the variety of the tracks to the quality of the beats, cuts, and instrumentation. It took J5 18 months to put out this, their second full album, and the care and quality comes across from the opening moments and throughout each track.

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