Jurassic 5

Silent Uproar: First off, I have to say the new album is very nice. There's always that chance a group will fall into the sophomore slump, so it's nice to J5 rise above that.

Soup: Thanks…

SU: I didn't get a chance to head down to Atlanta to see the show when it was in town, but how was the Smokin' Grooves Tour in general? It seemed like it would an awesome time…

Soup: Yeah, it was. It was also cool to be in that company -- to be able to go out there and perform for the people and our show not lack. You know? People didn't expect J5 to come out there and hold their own against those groups, so it was cool to do just that. And personally, I definitely felt we held our own with our show and with the rest of those groups, even though we didn't have monster hits like some of them.

SU: So you're in the middle toward the end of the fall tour, has it been more enjoyable playing in clubs and intimate venues then the amphitheaters.

Soup: When you're in the venues and clubs, it's more intimate, as opposed to being somewhere like the amphitheater, [which] is not that intimate. It's really close, [because] the people are closer to you.

SU: You get more energy off of the crowd.

Soup: Yeah, you get more energy and people aren't worried about dressing up and all that. The bigger venues are cool, because you need that type of experience being able to perform in front of people like that. You can't always stay in your comfort zone. You've got to definitely venture out into that stuff too.

SU: How did people react to the new songs?

Soup: Great. [The reaction has been] very good…

SU: It's definitely still a good time, but it seems, on the whole, the album is a bit darker and edgier than Quality Control; just more minor melodies and heavier beats -- such as "Thin Line" and "Remember His Name". Was that something you were going for with this album?

Soup: Nah, it was just the state of mind. It's just the way we did it. It's not like we were like, "yo, let's make something…"

SU: Let's make something heavy…

Soup: Yeah, It wasn't like that. It's wherever the beat took us is where we went. We're just basically trying to do the best we could to make a better record. Better than Quality [Control], or, you know, as equally as good as Quality [Control]… which I think we did.

SU: Definitely. I thought of it as a step up, but at the same time it's just as good as Quality Control.

Well, "One Of Them" is definitely the hardest J5 track I've heard. What caused or inspired the group to record a track in that vein?

Soup: It's just about all the stuff that people say about us. All the stuff; all the "whatever", negative stuff they figure they got to say. The "we ain't this" or "we ain't that." It's just to let them know you can think that it you want to, but that's all they gonna do is think. We ain't running and hiding from nobody, you know? We just have to let people know, all that stuff you say about us, we're going to respond to it. You can't just say what you want to say and think you can call it a day.

SU: Since it's inevitable that people will read and write album reviews about Power In Numbers, do you think this album will quiet some opinions that Jurassic 5 was just kind of a novelty group? Because, I can only say that I'm tired of hearing about anyone calling J5 albums "a salute to old school hip-hop". To me, it's kind of redundant, because everything in hip-hop, regardless of how much it's distorted by producers and disposable artists, is a salute to old school hip-hop in its own way. It's been around for twenty years, but compared to jazz or rock-n-roll it's still a very new music form.

Soup: Right, right, it is man. Regardless of what they doing, all them people can vouch for those old-school cats. All them people know what time it is with them old school cats. So, you're right, man.

SU: I've read about how you all met, as two different groups that hooked up at open mic nights at the Good Life - but it's uncanny how well you all sound together.

Soup: Thank you for not asking me to explain that! Thank you!

SU: Most people wouldn't think that four MCs, delivering the same lines could sound good together. I think that the chemistry between the members of group really is something unique. How was it to feel that for the first time? You all delivering the lines together…

Soup: It happened with Unified Revolution and that's why we became Jurassic 5. It sounded so good, we were like, "yo, you better keep on trying to tap into whatever this is to see how far we can take it!" That's what's been happening. That's how we got the EP, that's how we got Quality Control, and that's how we got Power in Numbers.

SU: With having 6 members in your group, how hard is it to write something you're all happy with?

Soup: You know, you can tell man. You know when something is good. We've all been liking this music or doing this music in some way, shape or form long enough to know that don't nobody want to take no shorts on it. We like lyrics, everyone in here likes lyrics; we hear lyrics. If it's not really catching with the beat, we can already detect that. We know music; it's in our blood. We know when something isn't really bumping to us. It's automatic; it's like an instinct. If you get pushed off of something, the first thing you're gonna do is what? Try to grab something. You know what I'm saying? It's instinct. So, when we hear it ain't right, we automatically know.

SU: Besides the name drops from Sean Lennon and few others on the first album, you didn't have any guests spots on the first album. How was it to have people from Big Daddy Kane to Nelly Furtado on this record?

Soup: I like the Big Daddy Kane thing, the Percy P thing, and the Ju Ju (The Beatnuts) thing more. I really like that, because that's our music. Those are the cats that made some incredible music that we admire. So, it was a pleasure. Nelly Furtado… umm… you know, for me that was more of a business thing.

SU: ...just to get the name on the album?

Soup: Yeah, that was business.

SU: But it turned out well. It's a great track I thought…

Soup: It ain't like Nelly is calling us saying, "Hello! How are you doing?" So, I'm taking it like she's taking it.

SU: Well, I know this is a big, broad question, but I thought I'd ask someone from Jurassic 5. Where do you think hip-hop needs to or will go in the next decade?

Soup: I don't know where it's gonna go, I'm not equipped to answer that. Where I would like for it to go? I would like for hip-hop to keep doing what it's doing. What I would like to see leave out of hip-hop is all these people with these [ignorant] opinions. All these young folks that don't know nothing about hip-hop that are just getting into it and then all of a sudden they are going to try and tell me what hip hop is… or, they telling me to "keep it real." I'm like, don't tell me to keep it real, you don't have to tell me that. I've done seen the music come from nothing to something. Old school to them is Young MC or Tone [Loc]… you know what I'm saying? Come on, man. When we say old school, we say Cold Crush Brothers and Busy Bee. You've got people talking about Run DMC, Rakim and Big Daddy Kane "old school." Man, back in the day, they were considered new school. Everybody knew that. Some I'm like, "what are you talking about them cats are old school? " Just stuff like that… not knowing what time it is, but talking about stuff they know nothing about. Man, shut up… if you don't know that stuff, then I'm not trying to hear it. You know?

It's like the four elements of hip-hop. Then, I'm hearing people saying "digging for records is the fifth element, or beat boxing is the fifth…" Nah, man, nah. That's not it. You haven't even mastered the graffiti part and you're trying to add another element; you're brand new to the game. You're not even 30-years-old and you're talking about digging for records. If you're a DJ, you already have records. There's no digging for records.

SU: Definitely. I'd like to see it go more of an art form. Not be so disposable.

Soup: Just make the music and enjoy it, and quit coming in with what you think hip-hop needs to be. Hip-hop didn't need help from you in the beginning, in order to reach you, so why all of a sudden do you figure you got something to add to it get to more people [into it]? Hip-hop is all over the world because of the founders who built it, and the people who kept doing it. Kept innovating it, getting better with lyrics, and better with beats -- that's what got hip-hop going on… not you coming in talking about the fifth element. I get upset about that…

SU: And rightfully so. Well, that seems like a good place to end off… thanks for your time.

Soup: No problem.

Nov 14 2002