Jurassic 5 is back. Over six years ago and after almost fifteen years as a group the popular collective of DJ’s and Emcees decided to call it quits. Whatever the reason for the split all that matters right now is they’re back in harmony and back on the road for the reunion tour! I caught up with members Chali 2NA, Akil, Soup, and DJ Nu-Mark while they were at the O2 Academy in Bristol for their UK leg of the tour. We talk about the tour and Chali 2NAs classic collaboration with Roots Manuva among other things but before I get to ask the first question Nu-Mark throws my entire world of balance with his psychic ability by predicting what the first question will be…”
DJ NU-MARK: …How have we managed to keep the vibe so strong this whole time?
DH: Pretty much yeah, how have you managed to keep the chemistry so strong after all these years?
SOUP to NU MARK: You’s good, that was damn good..
CHALI 2NA: Yeah that was good that was some psychic shit right there (laughing). I don’t think we ever lost the chemistry, it wasn’t that at all…so it wasn’t a thing of us keeping it strong at all, it was just there…it is there. I think we are all individual ingredients to the recipe that is Jurassic 5. You get us all in the same room, you turn the mics on, turn the turntables on and have us do what we do and it will sound like this, and ain’t nothing any of us can do to change that you know what I mean?
AKIL: It’s like riding a bike, you never forget you just gotta get back on…you might wobble a bit but you know once you get back on it’s like instinctive skills….it’s something we been doing for years so that’s not a question, once we get together it’s a done deal.
DJ NU MARK: It’s a recipe, you cook your favorite dish at home you put…coriander with whatever the hell and your gonna get that dish. That’s what J5 is, the ingredients are just the ingredients, the chemistry between us is the end result.
SOUP: It’s that show you love, where regardless if it comes on you watch it because there’s something about it you dig and that’s what we do. When we get together it’s something you love, and it’s automatically…it’s like Chali said it’s in us and we can’t fight it because it’s a feeling it’s an emotion it’s a vibe and your body won’t allow you not to and we just get together and do it.
CHALI 2NA: Those cats that say “they lost it”, they lying
SOUP: I haven’t heard that…I haven’t heard that
CHALI 2NA: Me neither I’m just saying (laughing)
SOUP: Yeah yeah right someone probably will say that I’m sure
AKIL: I love it right now, I think it’s a new day, and someone like Kendrick Lamar really kicked it off for a new generation and stuff and I mean it’s not even only for the west coast I mean for Hip Hop period, I think he’s like a pivotal staple in Hip Hop right now and he just so happens to be coming from the west so I love it. Much respect.
SOUP: They got some talent, they definitely got some talent out there. I just like to sit back and just see what happens, I can’t really give an honest answer about where it’s gonna go or how it’s gonna pan out, but I like that there’s some talent out there and cats are making their way and the most exciting thing is to see what they do. I don’t have any opinion on it I just see what they do and after it’s over I’ll have a better assessment on what I think about it, but they doing they thing, give ’em free rein let ’em do their thing. Ya know, we had it so let ’em do..
DJ NU-MARK: There seems to be some pretty decent lyricists coming out of the west coast right now, it’s like part 2 to that west coast sound that was coming up when we were about. Cat’s like Dom Kennedy and Pat Div…they’re incredible, and of course of course Kendrick (Lamar) he’s murdering right now.
CHALI 2NA: Earl Sweatshirt… there’s a couple of those that’s really got lyrics and you can’t front on them.
DH: How did the Chali 2NA and Roots Manuva collaboration come about?
CHALI 2NA: You know what we were touring here in the UK and I forgot what year it was, it may have been like the 3rd tour we were on in the UK like 16 or 17 years ago or whatever. I remember being at this place with Nicky Cheeks and they were playing this record and I heard his voice and I was like man this dude is dope and I asked her about him, she tells me who he is and were watching the Mud Family perform at the time and I was like man it would be dope…I would love to do a song with that dude, if ever you know. And one day when we came back, I met the dude, shook his hand and he told me you know like yeah that Nicky Cheeks had said you wanna do a song and I’m like yeah that’s cool. Anyway a few years past, like maybe 4 or 5 years pass and he was doing an album and he called me. I was like shit, you know I was honored, I didn’t expect him to call, it wasn’t like we planned it like that. I thought he was just talking to tell you the truth like “yeah I heard you wanted to do a song” but we actually ended up doing it, he actually came through, he sent for me and I came and we did it.
DH: I’ve been chasing an interview with him for years..
CHALI 2NA: Dude I’ve been chasing him for years to finish this… We’ve been talking about doing a 2NA/Manuva album for a year now. He’s elusive that dude’s elusive!
DH: Can you tell us what the group have planned as far as any future releases?
AKIL: Nothing right now we’re just touring and stuff getting back out there getting our feet wet and this aspect of it you know? Maybe something in the future I don’t know but we still have stuff that hasn’t came out that was created in that vein, so to me I wouldn’t wanna make music just to appease people of today and stuff..
DH: So we can look forward to some unreleased old stuff?
AKIL: Yes, I don’t know when, but yes
Chali 2NA: We don’t plan on doing anything were just tryna blow ya’ll heads off with these shows recently. We don’t know what the future gonna bring except hot shit! (laughs) Put it that way. But you know we got it back together started doing shows, plotting shows out…so for the time being were just doing things of that nature..
DH: So right now it’s all about the reunion..
SOUP: Yeah yeah….
DH: What have been the highlights of the reunion tour so far?
AKIL: The turntable piece, the part of the set the DJ’s do with the giant turntable and stuff you know, every time they do it it’s like a highlight for me and I’m like hyped as if I’m a fan back stage, and it’s their (DJ Nu-Mark & Cut Chemist) section of the show but I love it. And you know performing at places like Brixton Academy and places we already been like Bristol and Leeds you know it’s exciting to go back to places you already been ya know…
CHALI 2NA: Every damn show! (laughs) I can’t even front.
SOUP: After 7 years man to have people still wrapped around the block to come and see you…what else can you say man you have to be appreciative towards that so yeah I don’t have one bad thing to say about any place we’ve been…not one bad thing.
CHALI 2NA: Yes sir…
SOUP: And it’s great to see the camaraderie between us, it’s great to be back too and to see how everybody’s grown. And that’s dope too, that’s what you supposed to live for, that’s what it’s about..
This interview is part of Dean’s research for his What’s Real? – The Evolution of Hip Hop Documentary which features Chester P, Dead Prez, Evidence, Leaf Dog, Verb T and Immortal Technique and many more.