Jurassic 5 never really had a major “hit” record, one that dominated pop radio.
The Los Angeles-based group became known in hip-hop for what it represented — emcees and DJs dedicated to their artforms and starting parties instead of bragging about material goods or gang warfare — rather than any one recording.
In 2013, it seems hip-hop needed that spirit again. Six years after the group split — and nine years after one of its founders, world-renowned turntablist and DJ Cut Chemist, had moved on to solo work — the crew took the stage in front of tens of thousands at Coachella. That reunion show spawned a worldwide tour that has taken J5 across the world over the past year.
amNewYork caught up with Cut Chemist.
It’s been nine years since you performed with the crew. How did that first time back on stage together feel?
It was a lot easier than we thought it would be. We just plugged right back into what we thought was important — that we get to do what we love.
When a reunion tour does as well as Jurassic 5’s has, it’s usually because it’s filling a void in the current music world. What void does Jurassic 5 fill?
A rap group. We’re a group. You don’t see groups any more — you see rappers. And if they are in a “group,” they don’t work together like a band. We very much have the ethic of those groups from the ’80s. We represent that, and I think that’s something that people really respond to.
Technology has changed DJing tremendously in the last decade. What do you think the ease of computer-assisted DJing has done to the art of turntablism?
The cool thing about it is that people who get into it may see the craft and end up being amazing at it. I didn’t get into hip-hop until break-dancing became mainstream. When things go mainstream, it can be good or bad. [But DJ] Qbert, Shadow and A-Trak are still out there. That craft is still alive out there, but it’s just not as popular right now. But it can still be found.