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Wednesday, July 5, 2000

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Posted By on Wed, Jul 5, 2000 at 12:00 AM

Since the release of their debut, 1997's widely popular "J5 EP," these six (like their Detroit peers Dirty Dozen, the numbers don’t match the name) LA residents have been in danger of being pigeonholed as an "old-school" group. The way they re-create the early-’80s wild style is admirable, but are they just a hip-hop version of Las Vegas nostalgia revues? Quality Control should silence all doubters. The lyrics are more furious, the choruses tighter, and the production by DJs Cut Chemist and Nu-Mark is pure brilliance. "Doo Wop" has Chali 2na, Mark 7even, Daakir and Akil harmonizing and rhyming over the top of barbershop-quartet-style crooning; the title track sounds like an in-studio party, complete with claps, yells and background chatter; and the instrumental creation, "Swingset," should put the nouveau-swing groups to shame. This album shows that sampling is still alive and well, as elements from the past are pieced together to make new music – and not just with a SP1200 and turntables. The Jurassic Five have taken the old and crafted a style of their own, and that’s art in its finest form.

Luke Forrest writes about music for the Metro Times. E-mail letters@metrotimes.com.

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