After Thursday night, I can confirm that there is at least one Jurassic-named entity that began in the ’90s that is still thriving more than 20 years later.
Los Angeles-based hip-hop collective Jurassic 5 performed to a sold-out crowd at Club Nokia, proving in the process that there’s been no decline in their game since they first got their start in 1993.
In an age where hip-hop groups aren’t as commonplace, this six-piece hasn’t lost a step and in fact rise to the challenge in their live performances. With DJs Cut Chemist and Nu-Mark providing the beats and rappers Chali 2na, Akil, Zaakir and Marc 7 providing the flow, Club Nokia was a dance haven on Thursday.
When you see rappers today, far too often they sing only one verse and then stop, moving onto the next incomplete track. It often stalls the momentum that is created and is harder to dance along to. This wasn’t the case with Jurassic 5, as they moved from track to track seamlessly, only ever really pausing when the two DJs had a spin-off battle on stage. During this segment, the two DJs used some interesting looking equipment — Cut Copy had a device that looked like a guitar with a turntable built into it — and people in the crowd couldn’t believe what they were seeing.
I first saw Jurassic 5 back in 2013 at Life is Beautiful Festival in Las Vegas, when they were first back on the comeback trail. Though they were excellent then, the two years of performing together since then has only made them stronger.
The demographic at this show was also quite wide-reaching. People of all ages and creeds shared enjoyment in the music, singing along to classic tracks like “Jayou” and “Improvise” while also enjoying some of the newer material they shared. “Concrete Schoolyard” got a loud reception, as well as the slower-tempo “Thin Line,” which Chali 2na got started with his deep voice.
For the encore, the group took requests from the crowd and without problem ripped through many killer verses, such as “Work It Out.” When it came time for the memorable beat of “What’s Golden,” the entire crowd was moving as though it wasn’t 12:30 AM on a Thursday and they didn’t have to wake up early for work the next day.
There aren’t many hip-hop groups in general that perform at a level this high in the year 2015, let alone groups that got their start 20-plus years ago. Maybe it’s up to Jurassic 5 to pave the way for the hip-hop collective comeback. As Thursday night proved, there’s definitely an audience for it.
Opening up for Jurassic 5 at Club Nokia were RDGLDGRN. Unfortunately I didn’t make it in time to catch their show, but our photographer Farah got some awesome photos of them.
Words: Mark E. Ortega
Photography: Farah Sosa
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