Power In Numbers
Like the elementally electric lead single "What's Golden", J5's is a rocksteady combination of harmonic convergence, dynamic vocal inflection and B-boy bravado representing, in the words of Cut Chemist, "some incredible growth," that's particularly notable on cuts like "A Day At The Races" featuring the raw verbal acuity for which thoroughbreds like Big Daddy Kane and Percy P are respected. The simulated four-way phoner "Remember His Name" deftly employs the metaphor of the man of many faces to characterize common afflictions and foes of the collective Other.
Musically, the album launches from an R&B-infused base with a soulful meditation on the universally misconstrued and misused notion of freedom. JuJu's "If You Only Knew" is a forceful no-nonsense response to below-the-belt criticisms leveled at the sextet by a narrow range of cultural snipers. Harmonically enhanced by a sweet nuanced sampling of Minnie Ripperton's "Les Fleurs" and a contribution from Nelly Furtado, "Thin Line" provides a balanced, mature take on the rare sort of love affairs that originate out of the kinship of friendship. Lyrically dextrous and transported by Nu-Mark's exacting cuts and Beatnuts jack and what could be described as Bach amped to a toy piano, "High Fidelity" epitomizes a diamond in the ruff. Rounding out the album is a radio snippet of the inestimable microphonist Kool Keith freestyling on the metaphorically toxic "DDT". JuJu returns like a taxidermist on safari with "One of Them (Niggas)" and pops the collective wigs of hip-hop's hoariest silverbacks. Check the tailend of "Hey" for the significant sample of prototypical rapper Amiri Baraka's rousing reading of his revolutionary poem "It's Nation Time". The final track "Acetate Prophets" is Nu-Mark and Cut Chemist, ears to the grindstone, in their essence for six-and-a-half minutes in what amounts to a movable feast for turntabalists and beat junkies the world over.
Jurassic 5 stays alive and relatively real and relevant with Power in Numbers, raising the benchmark for musicality and composition to an admirable level in the realm of contemporary mainstream rap music.