Jurassic 5

It can't really be called a comeback, especially since they were a retro-minded, old-school hip-hop act to begin with. But that's exactly what Jurassic 5's new tour could be considered. These L.A. rappers came out swinging in the late '90s, releasing the back-to-basics LP Quality Control, which featured incredible verbal chemistry, beats by the pound and a B-boy ethos that seemed incredibly fresh in the stagnant, P. Diddified rap of the day. Their second album, Power in Numbers, was widely overlooked but nonetheless a strong effort.

But that was then, this is now, and now they're releasing a new album, Feedback, and desperately need to re-establish their presence. Unfortunately, one of their excellent DJs, Cut Chemist, has left the group, and their first leaked single ("Work It Out") was schmaltz that badly fused J5's verbal barrage with an ugly chorus of...the Dave Matthews Band? Say it ain't so, J5! Luckily, DMB is not touring with Jurassic 5, though the song will undoubtedly be force-fed through the speakers. Ultimately, this tour should tell us if we'll be hearing more stripped-down stylings, garish rap-pop pastiches in the future, or something novel from these talented artists. Let's hope they successfully rekindle their groove.

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Jeff Meserve