Dig tha Funky Chemistry

LA hip-hop crew Jurassic 5 mighthave a burden: on the one hand, they've been praised as simple old-school revivalists; on the other, as rap messiahs here to cleanse Southern California of its G-Thang image, out to prove that cats here can go big-time while dropping rhymes about things besides chronic, hos and 9-millimeters.

But the group's members say they don't pay too much attention to the labeling, and they seem deaf to the buzz surrounding their upcoming full-length Interscope debut, Quality Control. In fact, they're some of the humblest guys you could ever meet, just happy to be doing what they love.

What they're doing explains the hype: along with funky Philly innovators the Roots, Jurassic 5 are headlining Audiotistic, one of the most hyped rave parties in years. Such events are often reserved for DJs spinning lyricless dance records all night long, but Jurassic 5 will bring along the pure hip-hop of four tight rappers (Chali 2na of Ozomatli fame, Marc7, Akil and Zaakir) and two of LA's best DJs, Cut Chemist (also from Ozomatli) and Nu-Mark, into the happy land of rainbow T-shirts, glitter makeup, Cat-in-the-Hat headgear and ecstatic vibes.

You still can't holler "gangsta" at a rave crowd without causing some seriously bad trips. But so far, the infiltration of progressive hip-hop into the rave scene has been a good mix.

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Rap groups and MCs have been known to turn up at a party on occasion without disrupting the flow, but this is the first time hip-hop has grabbed the headline billing at a SoCal rave. There are reasons to expect it'll work. Raves are all about dancing the night away, and the Roots play with a live band that gets a solid, jazz-funk groove on. Similarly, Jurassic 5 turn every show they play into the coolest house party you've ever been to, with all their rappers bouncing rhymes off one another and then coming together in loose, anthemic choruses.

More than 30 other DJs will play in five large rooms spread over San Bernadino's National Orange Show Fairgrounds (OC authorities are still too chicken-shit to permit a party of this magnitude, so drive safely), and there will be lots of local, national and European acts on the bill throwing down styles ranging from the spinning techniques of expert scratch-master turntablists to the more traditional rave fare of trance, house and jungle. Cooler still, capacity is capped at a strict 20,000 to ensure plenty of room to move while you're flailing away till the break of dawn.

Audiotistic at the National Orange Show Fairgrounds, 689 S. E St., San Bernardino, (714) 284-9698. Sat., 7 p.m. $25-$35. For a complete list of artists, places to purchase tickets and directions to the event, go to www.audiotistic.com.

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