For the last several years there has been a void in my soul that is only recently beginning to refill. I think back to the middle school days and the bittersweet last hoorah of Jurassic 5, who put out their last album Feedback in 2006, only to break up a year later. I think back to their jungle-fun character, their smooth lyricism, and the magic that happened on the turn decks. They represented some of the most diverse sound that hip-hop could offer for over a decade, and put Los Angeles on the map in a way that didn’t glorify the hood but stimulated versatility in the genre, an uneasy feat in the “Murder Capital” of America.
I almost feel guilty saying it, but J5’s dissolve may have been the greatest decision they ever made. They released four quality albums and that’s enough to satisfy me for an eternity. Today, you can still hear the scratches of Cut Chemist (who has risen very successfully these past few years) and the iconic baritone voice of Chali 2na. But what the break-up was especially necessary for was the launching of one very important turntablist’s career: DJ Nu-Mark.
Evidently displayed in Nu-Mark’s upcoming debut album, Broken Sunlight, the former J5 producer has taken the work that his old rap group began to new heights in terms of its flavorful, multi-genre approach. Young adults, college kids and highschoolers reading this grew up in an age of clearly defined musical mediums. Rock was rock, rap was rap, electronic was electronic, and indie was pretty much all the gray areas. But now sounds are crossbreeding and the amount of artists pushing for it are multiplying and stepping up to the plate. Nu-Mark’s new album and sound is a significant steppingstone in an evolving decade of genre overlap, making him a crucial but underestimated player in this Cultural Revolution. He has proven not only to be a skilled producer and turntablist, but a gifted multifaceted musician.
Broken Sunlight is due for release on December 11th. From track to track DJ Nu-Mark’s sound transforms, accommodated by the artists with whom he collaborates. From the likes of a series of tracks including ‘Dumpin’ Em All’ and ‘Never Be Wrong’ we get into a revamp of his hip hop roots. Other numbers like ‘Tropicalifornia’ and ‘Our Generation’ show off his jazzy, soulful, and Latin dimensions. On other tracks, it’s just a straight up scratch fest. There’s even a hint of electronic. It’s actually astonishing. We also get a peak into the talents of other smaller artists, ranging from Quantic, Erica Dee, to Haas, and bring back some familiar faces like J-Live, TiRon, Bumpy Knuckles and Aloe Blacc.
For all the Canadians out there, you are slippin’ if you miss his Toy Set Tour currently rolling through Canada. As if this album weren’t testament enough to what Uncle Nu can muster, his toy set is sure to blow your mind. See you in Vancouver at Venue on December 13th!