Jurassic 5: “Thin Line”|
written by Mark Eastbase Thompson
Jurassic 5 formed in 1993 as the union between two crews, Rebels of Rhythm and Unity Committee, who came together to record and release the one-off single titled "Unified Rebelution." Quickly becoming a staple on the college radio and mix-show circuit. The success of "Unified Rebelution" cemented a union that would become Jurassic - one of the most revered new artists to emerge in years.
Jurassic 5 was fueled, in part, by their debut, self-titled EP. Released initially in 1997 on the group's own independent imprint, the EP sold over 200,000 copies in the US and England (where it cracked the UK Top 40 charts in its first week of release), a sign that hip-hop audiences worldwide were hungry for anything that diverted from the standard hip-hop sounds. Most impressively, the EP served as a rallying cry of sorts for a whole new movement in hip-hop, easily akin to what artists like The Roots, Black Star and De La Soul have only now begun to endorse.
The major label follow up was “Quality Control”, which was equally as accepted around the globe. In itself, ‘Quality Control’ served as a catalyst for what would become a land mark world tour for the group of 6, known as the Jurassic 5. A whirlwind of events on tour, and overwhelming response form live audiences in foreign countries the crew immediately started working on their new album “Power In Numbers” which is due to be released on October 8th.
The new album doesn’t stray form their already popular style, in fact it digs even deeper into the catacombs of the Jurassic cranium and delivers a some what more focused and harder approach as witnessed in the lead single “What’s Golden” and accompanying video.
Today’s September 12th interview with Zaakir seemed to begin in perfect synch with where last November’s interview with Charli2Na had left off; The World Trade Centre attack. Though both Charli2Na and Zaakir are of the same mind that the U.S Government was some how involved, Zaakir was less reluctant to impart information, like his comrade was.
“I definitely think there’s more to it than they’re [the government] letting on” Zaakir cautiously states “The media’s pumping it how they want it to be [perceived] – The government I should say, but the Media is part of it. I really think it was Bush, you know?”
He continues “If one guy can mastermind that…..He should have been took over the world. It shouldn’t be that hard to do. It took a lot of people out doing that. But you still can’t come over here? I mean, you really wanna take this place over…you can’t do that after you did something like that? Hitting those towers like that….and around the same time…that’s a hell of a lot of intelligence.”
After discussing the Pentagon ‘incident’ and the lack of finding wreckage from an actual plane, Zaakir throws a few more ideas my way “The thing with the Pentagon is…I heard there were some big politicians in the Pentagon right then. ….But I heard they only hit the side that had civilians in it not the part with any politicians in it – And that’s who’s gonna get hurt, man, it’s the people that’s gonna get hurt. The people just trying to pay they rent, or pay they mortgage. – I mean, you hit the Pentagon but you only hit the part with the civilians in it? I mean, if I’m a terrorist I just wanna hit the Pentagon. I don’t care where I hit it, I just wanna hit it. But it just so happens it hit the side with you know, working class people. That’s funny, that’s really funny to me. And if they [The Government] think they can just tell me what they want and I won’t question it, they got another thing coming.”
“We’re scared over here. We’re shaking over here” He concludes “They [whoever did it] definitely have the upperhand. To me, being black is hard enough. They [the government] never did anything for Black people – or minority people period – but I can only speak for my people. They gave the Indians stuff for retribution, they gave the Jews stuff for retribution, they might have given the Indians casinos and liquor stores – things to fuck them up – but it’s still something. Black folks got nothing they can call their own. We can’t even call Africa our own…….America is fucked.”
Through the politics and camera tricks of the communications networks, we hear third parties on the phones, so we change pace back to music. Now that the general public has finally caught up with the Latino Revolutionaries that are Ozomatli, I felt prudent to mention the groups involvement with Jurassic 5.
“I don’t work with Ozomatli” Zaakir states “Actually, Short Cut and Tuna aren’t really doing anything with Ozomatli anymore either. They’re at the [Jurassic 5] shows, and get asked about Ozomatli and they in the group [Jurassic 5], and they’re not really doing anything to stop it…..Instead of saying ‘Nah’, they say ‘Well, we do stuff’ so I dunno where they’re at.”
This over powering sense of division in the Jurassic 5, seems to be centered around Charli2Na’s elevation to ‘front man’ of the group. And betrayal not by him, but by the groups musical peers seems to be more evident than ever. I reference the recent collaboration with Linkin Park and open a big can of worms, it seems.
“I didn’t do that either!” Zaakir states emphatically as we both laugh “You got to understand this man, ok. Linkin Park, we met those dudes at the VMA [video music awards] not the ones this year, but last year’s ones. The cats came and spoke with Marc 7, and I know they exchanged numbers. And I met a couple of ‘em and one of ‘em was like ‘Hey we really enjoy you guys……hopefully in the future we can do something’ I was like ‘cool, I have no problem with that’. But I always thought that was somewhere down the line.”
Obviously with Charli2na’s appearance on the new Re:Animation album, this wasn’t the case “I didn’t even know Linkin Park was doing this remix!” Zaakir states as his voice get’s more booming “But when I found out, I found out that they only called Charli. Me? I was like ‘Fuck Linkin Park!’ You gonna sit over there and say ‘Yeah, I wanna work with you’ but you’re only gonna get Charli cause you think he’s the bomb or whatever you might think, but for me it was a slap in the face. The other cats were upset about it, but I didn’t like that shit”
He continues “I was like ‘You wanted to work with US, not Charli2na by hisself’ and that type of shit, you know? If that’s what you want, that’s what you ask for. If I don’t like you, I’m not going to talk to you. I keep the peace with you, you keep the peace with my by not talking. But don’t feel obligated to say things that you don’t mean. So yeah, when it’s time to prove you go get who you THINK is Jurassic 5? Like it’s Jurassic 5 [referencing the album credits for Linkin Park, and the advertising] but really it’s Charli. The only one getting love off that is Charli. I don’t get no props for that if it goes quadruple platinum. The other members don’t get no cheque for being on there, that’s all Charli. For me it’s a slap in the face for those dudes of there to say they want to work with Jurassic 5, but in reality you don’t. you just want to work with one member.”
“But it’s cool” he concludes “Cause every dog got his day. Man, print that. And I’ll tell them cats in they face and the whole 9. I ain’t got no problem with that. Fuck ya’ll, cause I don’t think that was cool. You can definitely print that. Fuck Linkin Park!”
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