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Political, funky, and clever are just some of the words that have been used to describe the music of hip hop crew Jurassic 5, who are embarking on a tour of Australia and New Zealand six years after calling it a day. TNT chats to J5 emcee Mark 7even.

The group split in 2007 but you’re now back together and heading Down Under. What can fans expect?
There is a lot of excitement, not just on the fans’ part but on our part too. We are excited to be back together, just as much as the fans are. We’re excited to bring the show over and see our fans who’ve supported us our whole career. Australia and New Zealand are big supporters of J5.

Lots of people didn’t think you’d ever get back together. So what changed?
It was a case of us meeting each other in our time off and enjoying being together again. We started slow with Coachella first, just to see how we vibed together through the practices and rehearsals and we didn’t miss a step. We knew then we are ready to come back, and not just come back – we had to be razor sharp because that is what we do.

More of a rebirth than a reunion?
Definitely more of a rebirth; we have a couple of tricks up our sleeves for this year, a couple surprises for everybody.

J5 is unusual in being more like a hip-hop collective than a traditional group. Take us back to 1993. How did you come to be?
At the start it was me, Chali 2na and Cut Chemist and we had a group called Unity Committee and we had hooked up with Zaakir and Akil, the Rebels of Rhythm, down at the Good Life Cafe in South Central LA. DJ Nu-Mark joined up soon after. Initially we were supposed to do one single. A one-off. That song was 'Unified Rebelution' and that really ignited J5 because from it we got a deal with TVT Records and we later signed with Interscope Records.

Ever felt the pressure of having to make a hit?
Honestly? Never. During the making of Feed Back, that process was the most pressure because it was our first record without Cut and it was a weird time. We worked with incredible producers but it is not the record that I would want to end J5 on because it isn’t all of us. It is a J5 record but it isn’t a J5 record, d’ya know what I mean?

Do you think you have a connection with Australians and Kiwis?
No doubt. One of the biggest tours I remember doing was us and The Roots. That was incredible. We toured Australia and it was great, but even before that I remember going to Australia when we just started out, the first time, and man it was great. The connection has always been there. There are certain countries and fan bases that I hold dear and Australia is definitely one. They have always supported us no matter what we’ve done. That is the driver for us. For so many years to be dormant and do nothing, we wanted to make sure we came back as good as ever – that’s why it had to be right.

What’s the draw? Why do people keep coming out to see you?
I think, honestly, our reputation precedes us. We’ve put in a lot of work. We pride ourselves on putting on a great show and giving people their money’s worth. I’ve been that guy on the end of the ticket that’s worked hard to buy it and wanted to see certain people perform and paid that money to go see them. I want to get my money’s worth and we want to make sure we give that when we perform. That’s what we pride ourselves on and that is just about us. We want to do it.

What do you think of current hip-hop?
It is pretty cookie-cutter so we’re glad we’re back.

What can we expect in the future? You said J5 had a couple things up their sleeve?
You can expect to hear something from J5. I’m not sure if it’ll be an album or a single, but you can expect something new.

Jurassic 5  will play a nine-show tour of Australia and New Zealand starting at Metro City in Perth on March 14.

 jurassic5.com

 

Image via Getty


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Interview: Jurassic 5's Mark 7even
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