Los Angeles' Jurassic 5 created some of the most recognizable hip-hop of the early- to mid-2000s, embracing old-school-style beats and, as explained in the group's mission statement in the song "Improvise," "taking four MCs and make them sound like one."
Jurassic 5 has since disbanded, but two big parts of that trademark sound will take the stage together again at Bear Tooth's December First Tap. Cut Chemist, one of the group's two DJs (and the first to leave the group, exiting before 2006's "Feedback"), will rejoin Chali 2na, the deep-voiced MC whom many may remember as "the verbal Herman Munster" from his opening line to "What's Golden," Jurassic's biggest hit from 2002's "Power in Numbers."
Chali 2na is billed as a special guest here, as Cut Chemist, aka Lucas McFadden, is bringing his Tunnel Vision show to town. Named after a sample on "React" from "Power in Numbers," Tunnel Vision is a collaboration with VJ Tom Fitzgerald that Cut Chemist has been touring since last year.
"(Fitzgerald) creates the visuals live as I create the music live," Cut Chemist explained. "He pulls from obscure film footage just like I pull from obscure music selections to make songs."
It's an elaborate marriage of different media formats, highlighting the eclectic talents of McFadden as both a solo performer and collaborator.
While many know Cut Chemist as the guy behind Jurassic 5's beats, as well as a featured member of Latin Rock outfit Ozomatli -- which has also featured Chali 2na -- he's cultivated his own following since his departure from J5 (though he shared, "I miss being in a group").
In 2006, he released the critically adored record "The Audience's Listening," but his anticipated follow-up has yet to surface.
When asked about that record's delay, the DJ cited the way music is digested today. "Trends change quicker, and as an artist, what I do is affected by what's happening around me to a large degree," he said. "If trends change, my comments through my music on those trends change."
Even without that follow-up, though, he's been busy.
He collaborated with DJ Shadow, performing a turntable show at the fabled Hollywood Bowl, which led to their live mix album "The Hard Sell." He's also worked with pop star Shakira, performing in front of massive crowds as her main support.
Cut Chemist has even appeared in a few movies since "The Audience's Listening," with director Jason Reitman (a fan) casting McFadden as a chemistry teacher (get it?) in his film "Juno," while he also appeared in Reitman's "Up in the Air."
But for now, his bread and butter remains Tunnel Vision, as that's been his go-to show for the past year. And while he's had a litany of guests perform with him, he said, "for Alaska, I'm very excited to have Chali 2na be that special guest."
The two performers weren't just in a musical group together-- they've been friends since attending high school together.
"We have known each other and (been) doing music together well before the formation of Jurassic 5, so it's like a family reunion," he continued.
And as Cut Chemist noted, the concert fits what Bear Tooth regulars experience on non-First Tap days: "The great thing about this show is that it works as a movie you can sit and watch or a performance you can stand and dance to."
By David Harper
Daily News correspondent