Wednesday, 9 March 2011

38: Jurassic 5, “Concrete Schoolyard” (no. 35, 1998)

Now that rap and hip-hop alike have been colonised by bragging, grime-y prats - Tinie Tempah? Tinie Penis, more like; N-Dubz? Fuck off, etc. - it’s good to be reminded of a time when the form could merely be about hanging out with chums of a late summer afternoon. (“Concrete Schoolyard” may be the second best example of its type, after the Fresh Prince’s timeless “Summertime”.) It could be that Jurassic 5’s relative lack of aggression (the crotch-grabbing aggression that has always been a side-effect of modern capitalism) mitigated against any sustained chart success - and, who knows, maybe they were happy with that. Certainly, I think we can all be happy with “Schoolyard” as a pristine rap creation, one that offsets its slacker tendencies with a higher rate of words-per-minute than most MCs of the period could keep up: more words, even, than Outcast’s “Miss Jackson”, a fact conclusively proven in extensive karaoke tests. There’s real wit and good cheer here, too: you’ve got to love any rap song that finds room for a kazoo break.

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