Struggling to Be Who They Are?

Feedback (Interscope Records)
Jurassic 5

By Kory Wilcoxson

When Jurassic 5 first appeared on the rap scene, they were a breath of fresh air: a rap group that focused less on chest-thumping and bling and more on the quality of their rhyming skills. They were a sweet alternative to the increasingly shallow world of commercial rap.

Now, four albums later, Jurassic 5 has to fight to keep from being swallowed up by that monster. They still are deeply rooted in the origins of rap, paying homage to early Public Enemy and Big Daddy Kane. The static intro to "Radio" is vintage Rob Base and DJ EZ-Rock.

And yet, spending too much time rockin' the old skool can just get ... old. So Jurassic 5 attempts to keep things fresh with the Black Eyed Peas-like "Brown Girl" and even pairs with the Dave Matthews Band for "Work It Out," an enjoyably lazy song that's all smiles. The question is: are they in danger of becoming the very spotlight-craving rappers they once railed against?

I don't think so, but they are approaching that line. Feedback is a collision between the group's desire to keep it real and their hunger for more commercial notoriety. Selfishly, I hope they stay true to who they are, because their sound is not only reminiscent of the early rap I grew up with, but is an improvement on about anything else out there today.

Get fed at www.jurassic5.com.