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J5 On the Verge of Mainstream Success
Contributed by: Chris Richburg
Source: Manhunt
Posted on: November 9, 2000 12:58 MST
Filed under: Rap

jurassic 5

Despite a bus accident that cut short their run on this summer's Vans Warped Tour, rap group Jurassic 5 have hit the road again for their Word of Mouth tour. MTV reports the group has but one mission to accomplish on their tour.

"Whatever we do, we make sure our show is tight," J5's Zaakir told MTV News from the road. "We've got to be like the old cats back in the day that made you want to come and see the show, and continue to see the show, and stay there."

This doesn't seem to be a problem for J5. The group's tour with Dilated Peoples and Beat Junkies is selling out shows coast to coast, and they recently put a stranglehold on the "Direct Effect" viewers' video championship belt for five straight days, vanquishing the Wu-Tang Clan, Shyne and Jay-Z in the process.

While rising from the underground to the mainstream, J5 are trying to lead the way for an emerging hip-hop movement that relies more on live performance and artistry than on image and ice. "I'm hoping that we can get to a place where the positivity that we emit is commonplace, like how the icy jewelry and all that stuff is commonplace now," group member Chali 2na said. "We're just try to be us, hoping that the showmanship, and the time and effort that we put into our music will flood out of the cup and spread to everyone else."

The Los Angeles group got its first big break in 1998 with an appearance on the Lyricist Lounge: One album, which featured their single "Jayou." The single and subsequent Jurassic 5 EP were embraced by an emerging international fanbase. The group soon found its music on record shelves next to trip-hop, breakbeat and jungle artists. "Europe embraces music that started from here. Like, embraces it," Chali said. "Jazz is huge over there, and you can^Ňt get a jazz gig in America."

Fueled by its grassroots success, the group with Interscope Records in late 1999. J5's debut LP, "Quality Control," offers a heavily melodic mix of synchronized rhymes and top-notch turntablism. All signs point to the underground outfit not remaining underground for long, which would be just fine with J5. ^ÓI truly feel that every underground MC wants everybody to hear their stuff, so if it's Puffy playing on the radio 24,000 times a day they want to be there, too," Chali said.
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