Strength in numbers: Jurassic 5 is far from extinct.
Talk about being snakebit. Since 1993, when Jurassic 5 first began making noise on the fringes of the Los Angeles hip-hop scene, deck men Cut Chemist and DJ Nu-Mark, abetted by emcees Akil, Marc 7, Zaakir and Charli 2na, have put on consistently great live shows -- a rap rarity. The outfit's discs have been entertaining as well, with an excellent self-titled EP, independently issued in 1998, leading to a deal with Interscope Records, which put out the well-named Quality Control two years later. Unfortunately, the group's new-school take on old-school party grooves failed to seduce CD buyers. With 2002's Power in Numbers, this history was repeated. The album included cameos by Nelly Furtado, Kool Keith and Big Daddy Kane, and thanks to Interscope's muscle, the catchy "What's Golden" was chosen for use in an oft-aired Sprite commercial -- the 21st-century way of getting airplay for an act that's being ignored by radio programmers. Nonetheless, the second full-length underperformed, too, stranding the 5 at the club level again. That's bad news for them, but good news for Fox Theatre regulars, who'll have the opportunity to get relatively up-close and personal with a combo that's much stronger than its sales figures indicate. Fangs for the memories.