Interscope - 2002
As trash hip-hop dominates the charts, it's important to remember that there is a world beyond Ja Rule, Irv Gotti, Nelly and whoever else is bleating about bitches, cars and jewellery this week.
Jurrassic 5's second album is a vote of confidence in true hip-hop. The band operate in a crowded field - the conscious, musical style that's become known as backpacker - and they have made the most of the secret weapons that distinguish them from their peers.
The cuts and production of Nu-Mark and Cut Chemist are note-perfect, walking the line between underground and commercial and taking the 5 in a slightly edgier and harder direction. As if that wasn't enough, they've drafted in Juju from the Beatnuts, a seriously under-estimated hip-hop talent, to provide juicy flutes on 'If Only You Knew' and ominous digital darkness on 'One Of Them'.
With this musical foundation, Jurassic's multi-MC line-up deliver the verbs with confidence, and though are all competent wordsmiths, Chali 2Na's basso rumble is surely the keynote Jurassic voice. In a world where so many MCs are happy to reproduce other styles, 2Na's low-frequency syncopation is surely the most distinctive in the business - the man IS Jurassic 5.
The downside? Well, there isn't a track that leaps out, Concrete Schoolyard-style, but the variety on offer more than compensates - moody on 'Remember His Name', reflective on 'Thin Line', dancefloor banging on 'What's Golden'. The only false move is the over-commercial Hey.
Tracklisting: This Is - Freedom - If You Only Knew - Break - React - A Day At The Races (feat. Big Daddy Kane & Percy P) - Remember His Name - What - Thin Line (feat. Nelly Furtado) - After School Special - High Fidelity - Sum Of Us - DDT - One Of Them (Feat. JuJu of the Beatnuts) - Hey - I Am Somebody - Acetate Prophets