Grinding is nothing new for Jurassic 5. Since ’95, the crew of Chali 2na, Akil, Zaakir, Marc 7even, DJ Nu-Mark and Cut Chemist have been stomping through the L.A. underground scene like a herd of rappin’ T. Rexes. After three celebrated LPs and losing Cut Chemist to a solo career, the boys are back with their latest offering, Feedback, which features true-school flows and cadences that fit the crew like a furry Kangol.
Paying tribute to ’80s hip-hop, Jurassic rework the Crash Crew’s classic hook from “On the Radio” for the Salaam Remi–produced “Radio.” Nu-Mark, who handles the majority of the production, keeps the throwback feeling in motion with the park jam jump-off “In the House.” Backed by a funky bass line and crisp hand claps, the quintet adopts an old-school flow and trade lighthearted lines like, “J5 MCs here to rock/Rhymes like ours could never be stopped/You heard the four of us, even though it’s six/Guaranteed to succeed by bringing you this!”
Other producers like Exile (“Baby Please”) and Scott Storch (“Brown Girl”) slide through to deliver some sonic variance. Problem is, even when the beats step out of the past and charge into modern times, Jurassic maintains the same dated flow, which eventually gets boring. Both the conga-and guitar-infused “Red Hot” and the call-and response–formatted “Turn It Out” could easily be mistaken for lost material from the hip-hop archives. Thankfully, Charli manages to be a competent scene stealer on the funky-fresh “Gotta Understand,” where he spits, “Some of you women are men’s mirrors/I know some women who dodge balls like Ben Stiller.”
Although this is an admirable nod to hip-hop’s boom-bap roots, Jurassic’s new disc lacks any material that reflects the genre’s evolution. Alienating a huge chunk of their younger audience with prehistoric flows and concepts, the West Coast collective is unlikely to get the feedback they wanted.—MALIK COWARD