Jurassic 5

Quality Control

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In June 2000, almost seven years after their formation, underground rap's most lauded crew finally hit with a full-length. Great expectations aside, Quality Control hits all the same highs as Jurassic 5's excellent EP of three years earlier, stretching out their résumé to nearly an hour with a few turntablist jaunts from resident beat-jugglers DJ Nu-Mark and Cut Chemist. The formula is very similar to the EP, with the group usually going through a couple of lines of five-man harmonics before splitting off for tongue-twister solos from Zaakir, Chali 2na, Akil, and Marc 7even. As expected, there are plenty of nods to old-school rap, from "Lausd," with its brief tribute to hip-hop classic "The Bridge" by MC Shan, to "Monkey Bars," where the group claim inspiration (yet just a bit of distance) from their heroes: "Now you know us but it's not the Cold Crush, four MCs so it ain't the Furious/Not the Force M.D.'s or the three from Treacherous, it's a blast from the past from the moment we bust." Where Quality Control really laps previous Jurassic 5 material is not only the lyrical material, though, but the themes and focus of the message tracks "Lausd," "World of Entertainment (Woe Is Me)," and "Contribution." The four-man crew take on major media and the responsibilities of adulthood with a degree of authority, eloquence, and compassion never before heard in rap music. (Just check out the lyrics to any of the above three at an online archive like www.ohhla.com.) Though critics and uptight rap purists might fault them for not pushing the progression angle enough, Jurassic 5's rhymes are so devastating and the productions (by Nu-Mark and Cut Chemist) follow the raps so closely it certainly doesn't matter whether the group is old-school or not.

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