5 - Interview
by Bevan Jee
BEVAN: Jurassic 5 is a collective of two groups "The Unity
(Charlie Tuna, Marc S.E.V.E.N and Cut Chemist) and "The Rebels of
Rhythm" (Zaakir and Akil). Tell us a bit about these two groups and how
Jurassic 5 all came together.
AKIL: We met at this spot called the Good Life where a lot of
underground MC's hang. They've got a talent showcase there on
Thursday nights. The Rebels of Rhythm (we) went down and performed
one night. The Unity Committee performed the same night and they
came up to us after the show and was like "Yo! we liked your show"
and we were like "We liked yours too, maybe we could hook up for a
song and stuff". The song didn't come about till about a year and a
half later. Cut Chemist had came up with a beat and he hooked up
with us for some lyrics on it. Rebels of Rhythm (we) were doing an
old school type of flow. We had a beat that was basically old school
so we done something, came back and let them hear it and then
Charlie Tuna and Marc S.E.V.E.N got on it. It turned out that
Unified Rebelution was the song that we did together.
BEVAN: Could you let me know why you decided to bring the single
'Unified Rebelution' out on the underground tip and then on Blunt
Recordings. Was it difficult getting signed and getting the single
AKIL: Both Unity Committee and Rebels of Rhythm had been
trying to get signed for years and stuff. You know sending demo
tapes to different record labels. We basically got to that real
b-boy point like fuck the record industry, fuck everybody else
we'll put out a record on our own.
BEVAN: I have noticed that a couple of songs released in the
few years just seem to reflect or reminisce on the Old School.
"Unified Rebelution" is very different because you've bought the
style of rapping and production way back. Was this your intention
and was it difficult to create this track both lyrically and
AKIL: No. Because it wasn't intentionally done, it just happened
it was the vibe that we were getting. It wasn't difficult to come
up with the lyrics either. We just rode off the vibe the beat gave
us. It was quite simple then because our flow was along those lines
BEVAN: What are your feelings about so-called hip-hop groups
don't have "real DJ's" in the group or at their shows and rely 100%
on the DAT machine?
ZAAKIR: As far as how we do shows, we like doing it off the turntable.
We've done it of a DAT and DAT is cool but I think djing's more intimate,
it's everything that hip-hop is based on. Right now there are a lot of
people who are screaming "this is hip-hop and this is what it is.."
they dont know nothing about how it was done. Not saying that we know
everything about it but we took time out to study it and really see
what's going on instead of coming out and saying that "We some Old School
kids in the New School", that's ignorant so we don't do that. We're going
to keep the avenues open as far as making shows better but were not gonna
drop out that DJ aspect. Were gonna keep the DJ aspect up there and were
going to build around that.
BEVAN: Does your appreciation and love for the old school in
prevent you from getting into the different styles of hip-hop today?
ZAAKIR: No actually it hasn't because for me you have to find
own nature as far as what rap is all about. When you say the new
styles of today, I mean for one I gotta really sit back and see what
the new styles really are. I don't know if there really are new
styles because a lot of people say what were doing is kinda new, when
in actuality it's not but it's new to them because they ain't ever
heard it. I kinda like staying on a vibe where we are because
nowadays you got too many people doing exactly what others are doing
and it's just killing it. You need someone to go against the grain.
Everybody cant keep going the same way and trying to implement it
and trying to get original. We let stuff come naturally and if out
of that a new style comes then cool. But if it doesnt it's all a point
about making good music because you could have all the style in the
world but you ain't making no good music, dont nobody want to hear
BEVAN: What artists do you listen to and respect the most?
ZAAKIR: There's so many! Jurassic 5 try to be as creative as
possible as far as like performances, shows and stuff like that but
everybody has their own personal opinion. There are four other guys
besides myself. My own personal opinion would have to be Organised
Konfusion and De La Soul. You got a lot of people who can rhyme but
when you look at bring creative you really gotta take time out to
look at Organised and De La. They really do some creative stuff. When
they do stuff you can't sit down and say so-and-so did that first.
When De-La and Organised do it, it just blows you backwards and your
like "how did they sit down and think of this?"
BEVAN: Who would be your strongest musical influences and who
think should go down in hip-hop's hall of fame?
ZAAKIR: Definitely all the brothers who didn't have a chance
it. You gotta give it up to just the pioneers. First people like
Cold Crush, there's no way in the world they shouldn't be there. All
the pioneers should definitely be there! As for my musical influence
as far as hip-hop is concerned, I would have to say Run DMC of
course. Run DMC made me really understand what real hip-hop was all
about at that time and they had a much broader appeal than what a
lot of the old school brothers did. As far as Cold Crush, Fantastic 5
and stuff like that you had to really dig for those because a lot of
their records didn't come out here. Run DMC was the first group
whose records came out and you had access to those with no doubt. If
you wanted to hear Sucker MC's all you had to do is go down to the
local mom and pop stores and there it was. As far as the OLD
OLD school it was very seldom you could get your hands on that.
Run DMC showed that you don't have to be dressing in all those sequin
suit's. You could just be you and do your thang!
BEVAN: What do you think about all the record company's repressing
all the old school classics on wax?
ZAAKIR: I mean if the brothers are getting paid! The artists
made the songs should get a percentage out of that but unfortunately
a lot of them are not because they don't have the publishing on it.
But when the old school heads are not getting royalties off it,
that shit is sad. These brothers put their heart into stuff like
that and they made something. Hip-Hop is from those brothers who
started it in New York. Hip-Hop is in Australia now. It's bad for
labels to put out stuff where these brothers don't see a dime from
it. I like it just on the strength that all these so called hip-hop
heads can get finally get a feeling of what it was really like back
then, myself included I pick it up without a doubt. I definitely think
it should be something to where the brothers can be compensated for
the things that they did. If you're not going to respect them, you don't
need to be in this, you don't have to be around. You gotta respect them.
Redman, Wu-Tang and all them kids are dope and they are definitely on top
but you can't say Redman can fade Flash, DJ Hollywood, Theodore and Bambatta.
You can't fade them kids. Hip-Hop is universal and it started in one place
and migrated around the world. That was them brothers out there doing that!
BEVAN: Yeah there are a lot of upcoming rappers in Australia
ZAAKIR: I mean.. I think that's everywhere. It's got to the point
now where a lot of MC's are just putting their stuff out on their
own. We are re tired of just going through the normal "give me the demo"
and going through all the BULLSHIT about "this is not what we're looking
for can we hear another song". I mean brothers are tired of that,
times is too hard and times is too short for brothers to keep on
sitting over there catering for people who don't really understand
this music. Put your own thing out and make it happen like that then
you don't have to adjust to them they gotta adjust to you.
BEVAN: Tell me a bit about the West Coast underground and the
west coast artists you think will be shining in a few months.
ZAAKIR: Right now the underground out here is getting better
what it was because a lot more MC's are coming out thinking business
minded. At first it was like I want to put this record out with this
video and get these women. Now brothers are looking like this is my
lively hood, I gotta put all I got into this and make it worthwhile.
As far as MC's coming up there's Jurassic 5, Abstract Rude, Ras
Kass. You gonna have some people coming out... some new people who
you ain't heard of that are going to come out and try to set stuff
off for the years to come and hopefully after us there will be some
more people coming in to keep it in heart of what rap really is
instead of thinking it's about shooting kids, making money and all
that other shit.
BEVAN: What's the album called, When is it dropping and when
drop can we expect more of that old school flavour or are you going
to be experimenting with different styles?
ZAAKIR: As far as the name of the album it's tentative, we haven't
come up with a title for it just yet. Definitely be looking for it
this year, hopefully it will be out by the summer. As far as what we're
expecting to do... you're not gonna have twelve songs that sound like
Unified Rebelution. Actually I think that's a misconception a lot of
people have, that with this old school thing can't nothing else
come out. We definitely have some other stuff but we wont take it to
the extreme where we're gonna have too many flavours on the album to
where an audience can't grasp it. We definitly want to have
different things to make people cling to us. But then if you try to
be a little too experimental, sometimes it backfires in your face. It
will be something where everybody can sit and definitely say this is
cool. I don't think it will be "Damn it's too much old school" or
"Damn it's too much new school". It's just gonna definitely be from
the heart, strictly from the heart.