After honing their skills on L.A.'s underground hip-hop scene over the last five years, Jurassic 5 has gone overground with its new album, "Quality Control," which sold some 32,000 copies last week and will land at number 43 on the new "Billboard" album chart.
Jurassic 5 formed back in 1993 from members of two other outfits, the Unity Committee and the Rebels Of Rhythm, and features four MCs: Akil, Chali 2na, Marc 7even, and Zaakir, as well as a pair of DJ-turntablists: Cut Chemist and DJ Nu-Mark.
Following a highly acclaimed stint opening for Fiona Apple, Jurassic 5 is currently out on the road with the Warped Festival, where the rap collective is sharing the stage with the likes of Green Day, Papa Roach, The Donnas, and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones.
Despite the band's recent success, the members told MTV News they are still very much aware of their respective humble beginnings in the L.A. scene and hope that they can help other, like-minded groups cross
over as well.
"There's a lot of guys that exist down there that are still doing stuff," offered Chali 2na who, along with Cut Chemist, is also a card-carrying member of Ozomatli. "Hopefully we'll bubble over to the overground, and if possible, we'll be the people who can open the door to that whole stream of people to come out.
"We've been around forever," he added, "for at least ten years, doing stuff while the mainstream people in Los Angeles and the Bay and places like that have gotten their shine. We couldn't get the deals when gangsta rap and things like that were popping, 'cause we weren't gangsta.
The band's mathematically bent fans may wonder why a group called the Jurassic 5 would actually total six members, but as Zaakir recently explained, the group's moniker actually grew out of comment made by 2na's girlfriend.
"It was a joke name," Zaakir said, "we didn't even have a name [at first]. Actually, when we got together and did our first single, the name of the single was 'Unified Revolution,' and everybody was calling us that. So we were like, 'Yo, if we become a group, we would definitely need a name.'
"At the time, Chali's girl heard the tape, and she was like, 'Yo, it's a nice song, but y'all think y'all fresh and y'all think y'all sound like the Fantastic Five. It's more like the Jurassic 5.' And Chali
was like, 'That sounds kind of
"So he came and told us," Zaakir continued, "and we were like, 'Hey, if we become a group, might as well name it J5,' even though it's six. [Laughs] J5 rolls off the tongue a little better than Jurassic 6." [RealVideo]
On Monday, July 3, Jurassic 5 and the rest of the Warped Tour will roll into Nampa, Idaho before a Fourth of July concert at The Gorge in George, Washington.