Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Jurassic 5 - Quality Control 2xLP


Get On Down (2015, Reissue)

Every Wednesday, in honor of Ed Lover Dance Day from Yo MTV Raps, I take a break from rock and roll to write a little bit about hip hop. In the late 80s and early 90s hip hop ruled my musical life. During this often called 'Golden Era' I discovered so much incredible music. As I am slowly replacing the CDs I've had for twenty-five plus years with vinyl copies, I'm going to talk about some albums that had a really important impact on me during some very formative years.

Jurassic 5 is an interesting group to me.  I will always associate them as something separate from the Golden Era of hip hop, though at this point, that seems a little weird since this album is somehow twenty years old now.  My first exposure to Jurassic 5 was seeing them the 1999 CMJ Music Marathon when I attended as the music director of my college radio station.  That was the year that a hurricane hit the NYC area and flooded roads made coming back to NJ a real disaster.  I remember a little bit about the show, but it was mostly an Interscope schmooze-fest.   I do remember liking J5 enough that they left an impression, something that was difficult for most hip hop acts to do with me in 1999.

Quality Control was released in mid 2000 and when it came out I was so shocked to hear a record that sounded so much like the early 90s hip hop albums I adored so much.  I definitely didn't remember Jurassic 5 being this good the one time I saw them play, but on Quality Control, they blew away all of my expectations and essentially created the first hip hop album that I listened to by a group that didn't already have a record come out before 1994.

The way the group linked up interesting beats with mic trading lyrics and combined that with some group harmonizing was something that I hadn't really heard before.  But it was this kind of innovation that epitomized the early 90s and I saw J5 as a bit of a mix between Tribe Called Quest, Souls of Mischief and BDP.  Twenty years later, Quality Control still stands tall as a pretty incredible album, though it is the only J5 record that I tend to listen to.  I have their first EP and second full length on CD, but they're not as good.  Ultimately it seems like Quality Control was that lightning-in-a-bottle moment where everything came together and Jurassic 5 was able to unleash a classic.

Jurassic 5 - Quality Control (Youtube full album playlist):

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