Four years after its last beat dropped, Jurassic 5 once again dusts off the vinyl, bringing you the “real hip-hop sound,” which turns out, involves the Dave Matthews Band, old-school beats and even older, hackneyed lyrics. With all its sampled cuts and failed attempts to provoke thought, the album “Feedback” only raises one question: What the hell was the group doing for four years?
Quick answer: building
a time machine. Yes, the retro hip-hop group went so far back – back when it had fans – it thought it was in the business of deflowering ear canals, as evident of the track, “Future Sound.” The song opens up to emcee Soup spitting some lines you can really Double Dutch to: “One, 2, whatcha gonna do? Two, 3, whatcha gonna be?”
Sadly, it goes downhill from there. Akil whips out his “verbal d- – – ” by spitting some venomous lines that call out everybody and nobody, except for maybe gymnasts: “Take it for granted/ when I manage with that home team advantage/ automatic rhyme bandit/’Bout to hand it ’cause you cram to understand it/ When I land it open handed.”
Soup is back on, matching Akil verbal turd-for-turd, when he throws down these nonsensical lines: “But I’m super laxative and I don’t need no practice, kid/ You’re probably wondering what track this is.”
If not for its time machine, Jurassic 5 may sound hypocritical two tracks earlier with the aptly titled “Where We At,” which claims to blaze the high road by not resorting to the lifestyle of other rappers.
Instead the group sounds bitter and old, resentful of the fame of others and ready with excuses: “They need to change their views/ Start talking about the clubbing they do/ that’s the reason we ain’t [messing] with you/ today’s artist is tough, talking loud just isn’t enough, let’s talk about the guns you bust, [sic], the crack you cut. I’m into keeping it real.”Never mind the fact that successful rappers could care less about the group. Instead just imagine 50 Cent getting pissed and beating the cowering behinds of all six members of the Jurassic 5.
Although lyrics aren’t the group’s forte, it does have some catchy, head-bopping
beats. The best song on the album is “Work It Out,” thanks in large part to the Dave Matthews Band. Matthews supplies the gnarled chorus and transforms an otherwise
lackluster song to one worth listening to.
Although the beginning sounds eerily similar to ABBA’s “Dancing Queen,” the wistful “End Up Like This” is a throwback to AM radio, pining for calmer days:”The vision that I’m seeing ain’t the same no more/ We used to tell the girls we love them, now we’re calling them whores/ The summers of the past was a blast when we cooked out/ now we grab the phones, sit alone and order takeout.”
These brilliant lines are few and far between on “Feedback,” which, as a whole, is passed off as a great heap of regurgitated, sour pabulum.
Steve Wood can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.