IN THE AGE OF YOUTUBE AND ONE-CLICK DOWNLOADS, INSTANT GRATIFICATION OF CONSUMERS HAS CHANGED THE CLIMATE FOR SELLING MUSIC. DANTE ‘AKIL’ GIVENS OF JURASSIC 5 TELLS RIP NICHOLSON THAT POST-REUNION HIS WORLD-RENOWNED HIP-HOP ACT HAVE STEPPED UP THEIR GAME.
AKIL interviewed @ 10.15 AEST – Thursday 12th February, 2015
For Street Press Australia & Rip2Shredz Press
Words by RIP NICHOLSON
[Full Q & A with JURASSIC 5]
It’s a different age in how people do stuff, now,” Dante ‘Akil’ Givens begins.
“We release albums, but really we’re amusing a new generation. It has to be a lot more strategic now. The life expectancy of a song now is like, two days. You click over one song to the next so easily; peeps already heard your joint and have moved on. That’s why I believe the visuals help out a lot. So, if there’s anything that we want to work more on now it’s the visual side of things. Making something that is tangible. That’s why I think YouTube is so big right now. It’s that connection to the music that you can grasp.
“You might get a video for Thin Line now, in this day and age,” says Givens who is looking to re-up J5 songs into videos. “For songs that people loved but never had a video for.”
Los Angeles-based rap outfit, Jurassic 5 was formed in 1993 when Givens joined MCs Marc 7, Chali 2na, Zaakir and producers Cut Chemist and DJ Nu-Mark, and in ‘97 released their self-titled debut on TVT Records. After their second album, 2000’s Quality Control, J5 opened for Fiona Apple on the Warped Tour.
“We’ve always been around different styles of music. And that prepped us to be able to be performers, period. We don’t just want to fall into hip hop gigs. We can perform live music in front of anybody, on any stage.”
“You can’t beat the live shows, because that’s the original Instagram. It’s living in the moment and that’s what these Twitter and social accounts try to capture. That is our strong point. We make good albums and we’ve made some made super, super hits,” says Givens between chuckles. “But, it’s always been our live shows that connect with our fans. And we are very conscious of that and how we can further our reach with the same music, performed live.”
So, working to their skills, when J5 got back together in 2013 – they broke up in 2007 – they toured. Then they kept touring into 2014’s Glastonbury Festival. This year, J5 rocks the Bluesfest and West Coast Blues ‘N’ Roots festivals.
“Hip hop is essentially a hodgepodge of all different genres. This is right in line with what we do. I didn’t grow up on hip hop, it came about when I was a teenager. Before that I listened to funk and jazz and soul. That’s what I grew up with, so, I’m at home.
“That’s what we’re able to do as hip hop performers, is teach people what actually is hip hop. Real hip hop. What we bring is not the commercial side of the game that you have been fed. This is the core of the real thing.”