Fortunately, J5 resists the stereotypes of the underground as well as those of the mainstream, and, unlike many of their peers, the six-member collective keeps the knee-jerk piety to a minimum. Although J5 eschews mainstream rap's inevitable thuggist tropes, the conspicuous consumerism, the mindless misogyny beloved of ballers and commercial-radio programmers alike, the four MCs never resort to the meaningless abstractions favored by the anti-bling set, who seem to suffer from the delusion that an uplifting message can compensate for lousy flow and stale beats. J5's second full-length, last year's Power in Numbers, proves that if you free your ass, your mind will follow: The slinky old-school beats, the rapid-fire rhymes and the unadulterated funk will work your lower half; the smart but not self-consciously cerebral lyrics will seduce your poor neglected noggin. And, unlike most hip-hop acts, underground-begrimed or platinum-plated, J5 is known for its galvanizing live sets, which have earned the endorsement of none other than the Roots' ?uestlove.
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