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Four Emcees and One DJ

Posted by Chip / November 13, 2006

Jurassic 5, with Cadence Weapon @ Metropolis, November 11th

I’ve often thought that the showmanship at hip-hop shows was hit or miss. It’s always important to make sure the crowd knows that you know what city you’re in, just as it’s important to make sure that all the ladies in the house are involved, as well as that the right side and the left side of the room are equally loud. And until Saturday night, I thought De La Soul were the only ones who really knew how to work a crowd. With all clichés in tact, including instructions on arm waving and fist pumping, Jurassic 5 played a veteran rap crew to a tee – and it didn’t matter one bit.

J5, after all, has been around for a little while. Around 10 years, actually. And although they hail from the west coast scene, they choose to leave the gangster rap behind. Their rhymes are often smooth, intelligent and of course, catchy, all at the same time.

j5b.jpgFrom the first beat, it was obvious that J5 had honed their skills over their time together, rarely missing a note and doing their best to make the voices of their 4 MC’s sound as one. Combining that with their obvious enthusiasm from the change of venue (because of high ticket demand, the show moved from Spectrum to Metropolis) provided for a high energy performance that left the fist pumping crowd wanting more…and more.

J5 started right out with tracks from their newest album, Feedback. And when they started with their older stuff, they insisted that this was the first show on the tour that they pulled out their ‘select’ tunes. About midway through the first set, DJ Numark (who also produces for the band) brought everyone to a frenzy with a 5 minute solo on what looked like 2 fisher price music machines, that earlier, all 5 band members had sat down to do battle with. The set was highlighted by the performance of Freedom, which began with a one finger salute to Dubya. The band and crowd seemed to feed off each other, and of all the shows I’ve been to around here, this had to be easily one of the best audiences I’ve seen. Responses to prompts were never missed, harmony was achieved, and the result was great.


To finish of the show - as if they were out of songs - J5 decided to freestyle, with each member taking their turn (including opening act Cadence Weapon – who didn’t miss a beat). And how do you know that the freestyle is truly free (i.e. improvised)? How many times have you heard a show end with lyrics rhyming Monty Hall with Montreal? Seriously, how many?

Thanks Chali 2NA.



Fairfax / November 14, 2006 at 04:44 pm
I have no particularly clever comment to make here, just wanted to agree that it was an awesome show. Saw them when they first came to Montreal two years ago as well, and was equally impressed. These guys are just pros - incredibly good at what they do, and are clearly enjoying themselves so much that it's infectious. Just a good time all in all - makes you want to wave your hands in the air like you just don't care and all that shit.
Farifax / November 14, 2006 at 05:06 pm
Oh, and much credit to them for pronouncing the name of our city correctly every time they yelled it out (which was every 15 seconds or so). They actually said "Mun-tree-all" - as all good English-Canadians do - rather than the usual American mispronunciation where they rhyme "Mon" with "on".

And speaking of mispronunciation, one of them even made a very bad attempt at introducing himself in French - "je m'appelle Marc 7". Sure, this is a cheap and common ploy used by foreign bands trying to get on the good side of the crowd here in "Mon-tree-all", but this was the first time I'd seen an American hip-hop group try it.

Just another indication that these guys are a bit more intelligent and informed than your stereotypical hip-hop crew.
OJ / November 14, 2006 at 08:33 pm
Indeed. I missed the attempt at French, but am now thankful that they didn't attempt the French pronunciation of Montreal every time they said it.
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