It takes the right combination of craziness and courage to walk away from the fame game at its peak. But in 2007, Jurassic 5 did exactly that.
Feedback (2006) reached No. 6 in Billboard’s U.S. rap record sales, securing Jurassic 5’s status as pioneers of alternative hip hop. Seven years later, the same cats known for jazz sampling, scatting, multiple live MCs and even the occasional kazoo solo are once again ready to take you “back to the concrete streets,” as they rap in their 1999 self-titled LP.
“I think having time away from each other was the break that we needed to reset the battery and take a look at the business again,” says founding member Marc Stuart (also known as DJ Nu-Mark).
Their first reunion performance was back home in Southern California at Coachella 2013. While the MCs (Charlie 2na, Akil, Zaakir and Marc 7) were able to pick up exactly where they left off, Stuart explains that the DJs (himself and Cut Chemist) struggled with technological issues: Five minutes before the gig, a needle on their portable turntable shattered just as Sir Paul McCartney walked backstage. Stuart, however, was still able to land a “selfie” with McCartney.
Meanwhile, Jurassic 5 is working to piece together the puzzle of a music industry that has changed drastically since their break. They’re unsure if they’ll release a new album, but fans thirsty for more music can listen to the recent single “The Way We Do It.”
Heavy D (whose past collaborators include Notorious B.I.G. and B.B. King) produced the single shortly before he passed away in 2011. While earlier songs by Jurassic 5 sample music from across the ’60s and ’70s like Quincy Jones and Ike Turner, their new effort floats across the spectrum to sample modern rock by The White Stripes.
“People connect with truth more than anything else,” Stuart says. “Each song has something different to feed your soul, you know?”
Jurassic 5 performs with Dilated Peoples and Beat Junkies 7 pm Thursday, July 10, at Cuthbert Ampitheater; $37 adv., $42 door.