Jurassic 5: bringing a hip-hop flavor to Lollapalooza. Courtesy photo
After a six-year hiatus, Lollapalooza is back. The brainchild of Perry Farrell returns with a solid lineup, including Jane's Addiction, Audioslave, Incubus, and The Donnas.

In its previous incarnations, Lollapalooza often maintained a hip-hop friendly vibe, featuring acts like the Beastie Boys, Ice Cube, Cypress Hill, Ice-T, and A Tribe Called Quest. This year is no exception, with stalwarts Jurassic 5 and MC Supernatural filling the beats and rhymes quota.

J5 is touring behind its latest album, Power in Numbers, an underrated LP that shows the group coming to grips with its ascension from the depths of the Los Angeles underground to mainstream USA. Comprised of members Akil, Charli 2na, Cut Chemist, Mark 7even, Nu Mark, and Zaakir, the crew crept onto the scene in 1997 with a visionary self-titled EP. After finding huge success in Europe, J5 returned to the states, signed to Interscope, and released the equally well received Improvise and Quality Control. Displaying a penchant for "malignant metaphors" and inviting harmonies, the crew thematically recalls former L.A. cellar dwellers like the Pharcyde, Freestyle Fellowship, and Dilated Peoples.

Lollapalooza '03
Saturday, August 9
Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
16765 Lookout Rd.
Sonically, Jurassic 5 succeeds by producing festive rhythms that recall the early days of hip-hop, complete with melodic cadence, unforced exuberance, and a tinge of innocence. The latter has often served as fuel for critics who question the group's breadth and verisimilitude. Power in Numbers responds to these critics with tracks like "Freedom," "One of Them," and "Remember His Name," whose riveting urgency break new ground. The album also includes an ample amount of the bangers with melodies that fans have come to expect.

J5's live set has the tendency to leave its audience out of breath. With four MCs and two DJs on stage at nearly all times, there is plenty going on. Incredibly, the six-man crew is able to execute precise harmonies fused with call-and-response. The last time I witnessed the group live, about a year ago in Atlanta, it made the Roots performance that followed almost anticlimactic. At Lollapalooza, J5 is scheduled to perform sometime around 4:20 p.m. •

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