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Feel-good rap from Jurassic 5

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Special to The Times

With hip-hop’s mainstream dominated by the paranoid gangsta stance of Eminem, DMX, Scarface and the like, along comes South Central-bred Jurassic 5 to prove that its charismatic “positive” rap is simply a better party. From the opening beats of “I Am Somebody” to the last chorus of “What’s Golden,” the six-man crew reveled in a surge of affection Saturday that had the capacity crowd on its feet and the Wiltern’s vast balcony in an alarming bounce.

Solidly grounded in an alternative West Coast hip-hop scene that also gave rise to the Pharcyde, Dilated Peoples and the original Freestyle Fellowship, the lightning-quick, tight and playful ensemble vocals of Chali 2na, Marc 7even, Zaakir and Akil stress melody as much as individual torrents of lyrics. They even break briefly into the barbershop harmonies of “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.”

The emphasis on songs makes for a great party atmosphere; the fact that they are songs of liberation and self-awareness -- rather than threats and boasting -- gives it an air of extra urgency. Where the work of opener Talib Kweli tends to get a touch righteous, Jurassic 5 knows when to let its two outrageously gifted DJs take over. Highlights of the show were incendiary scratching by Cut Chemist and a jazz pastiche played by DJ Nu-Mark on children’s musical toys.

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Returning home after touring its jubilant 2002 album, “Power in Numbers,” this crew has clearly emerged, along with the Roots, as standard-bearers of a new movement. Providing a clear alternative to the aesthetics of pure greed, all they’re trying to do, they say in “If You Only Knew,” is to bring “soul music, somethin’ we can all relate to.” How utterly refreshing.

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