Review Summary: A strong end to Jurassic 5's memorable career. This is a funky new side of hip-hop that should be explored more often.1 of 1 thought this review was well written
Hip-hop has never been a genre to which I was attracted. My idea of hip-hop, which consisted of shooting my gat, slapping my ho, and rolling in the Benjamins, never really appealed to me. Every track, every beat, every rhyme; they all sounded exactly alike. And they all portrayed negative images of ghetto thugs and stank-ass hoes. To my delightful surprise, there is a different side of hip-hop, a side that does doesn’t get much attention, one that makes you feel good and carefree. This kind of hip-hop is delivered in the form of Jurassic 5.
Where to begin? Feedback contains so many elements it’s hard to choose which to discuss first. First and foremost, each track is completely different from the previous…something that happens in 1 out of 100 hip-hop albums today. The beats are fresh and original, and the lyrics are meaningful and positive. The album begins with a little introduction of each band member. This introduction comes in the form of Back 4 U, a three-minute introduction in which each band member gives a little background about who they are, all in the form of a catchy rap track. A five-man group, introducing themselves, for three minutes? Boring? I think not. The best part-this is only the first track.
Feedback takes a trip back into the 70’s with the funk influences constantly reappearing within the album. Gotta Understand features a funky little beat with some high-pitched vocals and fresh lyrics, a fun track all-around. This is the case for the majority of Feedback. A bumping, grooving beat with each group member taking a verse or two, and then everyone singing together in the chorus. While this makes the album somewhat predictable, it is a good formula, and it works well. In the House sounds like a Rapper’s Delight remake with the exact same beat and newer, less-humorous lyrics. One of the slowest tracks on Feedback features the fastest rapping. Baby Please, a stop-and-go song, highlights the groups amazing flow.
The highlight of Feedback is, without doubt, the Dave Matthews/Jurassic 5 collaboration, Work It Out. A count-in intro blasts into the chill, groove track. The lyrics are soothing and calm, something rarely heard within a hip-hop album. Dave Matthews adds his rasping, deep vocals into the chorus perfectly. The song also portrays a positive message of working out your relationship problems together. How much more motivating can it get? If you listen to one track from Feedback, make it Work It Out. This is the perfect blend of jam rock and hip-hop, yet another strange addition to hip-hop. Luckily, it works to perfection here.
One of the best aspects of Feedback is the addition of multiple instruments into the music. Sure, drum and bass beats are great for blaring in your car, but where is the depth in that? Jurassic 5 includes piano into most of the songs. Guitars are used perfectly in a few tracks, as well. Even bells are heard in Radio, though they do become repetitive after a short time. Of course, how could I could say that this album revisits funky 70’s music without mentioning the horns. The funky brass horns are used sparingly in Feedback, but they do give the music a whole new perspective when they are heard. The final track, Canto De Ossanha, is, obviously, a Latino dance track. Complete with maracas, snapping fingers, and a rolling piano line, Canto De Ossanha is a completely instrumental track which ends the album, if nothing else, well…differently. Instrumental tracks are an extraordinary find in hip-hop, but Jurassic 5 pulls it off the way it should be done.
The only area in which the album is lacking is the depth and content of some of its songs. Poverty and facing adversity are subjects sung about all throughout Feedback. Conquering adversity through a hard childhood and unfair life is a constantly recurring theme within the album. However, a few songs just seem to be, plainly stated, filler. Brown Girl, featuring Brick & Lace (whoever they are) is horrendous. Lace’s vocals are mindless and irrelevant. This may have been Jurassic 5’s attempt at transitioning into a more mainstream rap sound. It didn’t really workout. The exclusive beats and blithe lyrics will make up for anything lost on this track.
Feedback is surely a colorful hip-hop album. It is really incomparable to any other rap sound, even Jurassic 5’s earlier albums do not sound quite like Feedback. Some of the attempts at this funky fresh sound and peculiar beats may fall short of their earlier work, but Feedback still makes for an album worth listening to, and especially enjoying. Jurassic 5 shows a side of hip-hop that is hard to find, but worth searching for. This is a great album and a strong end to Jurassic 5’s career. Feedback will leave you with a happy feeling inside.