Wednesday, November 10, 1999

Extend the play

Posted By on Wed, Nov 10, 1999 at 12:00 AM

In hip-hop social circles, purists and backpackers often talk about the days when the music was fun. They refer to what is commonly known as hip hop’s "Golden Era," the period between 1988 and 1992 when groups such as Eric B. & Rakim, Boogie Down Productions and Chubb Rock pulled our attention toward their songwriting ability, as opposed to their tough exteriors.

The Jurassic 5 want to take you back to the time when skills paid the bills. Their EP release is a case study in hip-hop lore. From the stripped beat-and-loop drum tracks to the hot potato microphone styles, EP is pretty damn danceable. It’s not the type of hip hop that sells millions of copies, but that only because it’s not a radio-friendly project.

Jurassic 5 starts the underground escapade with "In the Flesh," a bouncy drum track with equally bouncy (and prehistoric) choruses. It’s a perfect setup for the entire disk. The highlight, however, is "Lesson 6: The Lecture." This instrumental groove is a DJ’s dream. As a sample of an educator punches in and out with a lecture no one gives a damn about, the track switches tempo, time and tastes. In a heartbeat, it moves from pure hip hop to swing to Latin and back.

The downside to the EP is that it’s over before it begins. Six songs and two skits is equivalent to waving food in front of a hungry man without feeding him. But maybe it’s a ploy, since it will surely leave any Jurassic 5 fan ready for another prehistoric romp.

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