Jurassic 5 - O2 Academy, Glasgow, Mon 10 Jun 2013
The intelligent hip hop posse show synergy and solidarity following their recent reunion
When J5's original line-up reunited for this year’s Coachella festival, their performance was a reminder as to how important their music has been as an evolutionary footprint in the fabric of hip hop for the past 20 years. While also reminding us that it's been at least six years since they last graced this side of the pond, tonight's gig in Glasgow marks a triumphant return for the cerebral kings of rap as they showcase a flow and finesse that thankfully hasn't deteriorated in their lengthy absence.
Like some warped attempt at barber shop mixed with the voices-in-unison shtick of a gospel-led R&B arrangement, you could be forgiven for thinking that the four MCs (Akil, Mark 7, Zaakir and the distinctive baritone talisman Chali 2na) were almost a streetwise attempt at a Boyz II Men style outfit but with the flavour and attitude of the most vibrant street poets that inspired their pursuit into the hip hop game. The type of synergy and solidarity displayed throughout their set just goes to show how tight the collective still are, with the constant back and forth in songs such as 'Improvise' (from their debut self-titled record) having lost none of its B-boy swagger.
Meanwhile, back-benchers DJ Nu-Mark and Cut Chemist play an equally significant role, both masterfully working in tandem while giddily experimenting with a plethora of their own custom-built accessories (including a paella dish-sized turntable being haphazardly spun like it's in a careless episode of Wheel of Fortune). This sideshow serves to build some carefully nuanced hype among an energetic crowd before the group drop some old school classics, including the algebraic wordplay of ‘Concrete Schoolyard’ and the infectious break beat of 'Quality Control'. The latter clearly conveys a sentiment the Californian outfit have striven for throughout their career; let’s hope this newly found second wind carries the same ethos and no nonsense outlook as they consider their next move in the world of innovative hip hop.