Six years after they called it a day, hip-hop seers Jurassic 5 are back. “You never miss your water until the well runs dry,” Chali 2na tells Jim Carroll
Any fights so far?
“None at all. It seems to me that everybody is happy that it’s all on, it’s all happening. I can’t read minds but I can read body language and it looks like we’re having an amazing time.”
What are your views now on the band break-up?
“I think we needed a break. It was one of those things which, in hindsight, I was definitely able to use as to a learning process about myself as well as about my band members. We were all kids when we started and we did that for 20 years hard.
Our hiatus had to happen. Chuck D said that time would let us know for sure when it was right to step back and he was right. I can say too that we needed this to happen, we needed this again. Like, I see a really energetic response now at our shows and not just from the audience. You know that saying, you never miss your water until the well runs dry? That’s the band, man!”
Hip-hop has certainly changed since the Jurassic 5 EP landed back in 1997.
“Big changes. In the last 10 years, I think hip-hop has been rapper-less. It’s being like a piece of bubblegum, totally disposable. It hasn’t been a thing of substance or a meal in a long time. When we started, our perspective was that hip-hop was a full four-course meal where you walked away full and the music you made could be listened to 20 years from then.
“A lot of hip-hop of late has been very ADD, very instant, very short-lived and you’re not going to listen to it 20 years from now. Hip-hop shows have got bigger and brighter in the last while, but the entertainer is not actually entertaining. The crowd are starving and then, hey, we’re back and here comes that meal again.”
Like that line from Concrete Schoolyard, would you say that a lot of the more righteous rappers out there are ignored?
I think we can go deeper on that and say it’s a small conspiracy to stop something as powerful as real hip-hop. You have an art form that can speak to people directly without a need for CNN or Fox reporters to filter things. We are that, we tell it like it is, not just Jurassic but hip-hop in general.
From my era, we’re truth talkers and that had to be shut down and devalued. The only records you get to hear are the bullshit ones so everyone coming up feels you have to be like that dude and be a clone to have a position in the workforce as opposed to being original and making art from your heart. Peace, unity, love and having fun – those four elements give people and communities enough power to
overthrow any fuckery around them.
Now that you’re back together and it’s all smiles and happiness, what about a
It’s to be confirmed. We don’t necessarily want to put out any expectations about a new record. I mean, it’s our 20th anniversary so I’m sure you may hear something but it’s still in-between all of us and we haven’t talked it out yet. What we’ve been doing is showing that there is still a place for a group like Jurassic 5 so we’ve been touring and doing these shows and the reaction has been amazing. We’re blessed.”
Jurassic 5 play Dublin’s Vicar Street on June 16th and 17th