Jungle Brothers | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Jungle Brothers

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The Jungle Brothers set themselves apart from other "positive" rappers like Boogie Down Production and De La Soul by flaunting a mystical streak a mile wide. Their appealing mishmash of back-to-nature vegetarian sentiment, inspirational Afro-Christian rhetoric, and sexy humor sets a peaceful, conciliatory tone that's refreshing enough to make tough dudes like LL Cool J and Ice-T suddenly sound passe. It also helps that in their best moments, the JBs--who owe even more to the Last Poets than do most modern rappers--sometimes forsake the standard boom-box beat in favor of something a little jazzier (is that a Pharoah Sanders sample I hear?). They do it all with a down-to-earth freshness that makes their album Done by the Forces of Nature not only great fun but good for you, too. No bleak anthem of urban rage, Nature is one rap record that sounds best in the morning. After starting a few of your days with the JBs, you may never want to touch meat or alcohol again. Monday, Cubby Bear, 105 9 W. Addison; 327-1662.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Renee Cox.

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