Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Ozomatli

  • Ozomatli [Almo Sounds, 1998] Neither
  • Embrace the Chaos [Almo Sounds, 2001] **
  • Street Signs [Concord, 2004] A-
  • Fire Away [Concord, 2010] Choice Cuts

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Ozomatli [Almo Sounds, 1998] Neither

Embrace the Chaos [Almo Sounds, 2001]
these days, rap-salsa . . . gumbo, gusado, couscous, whatever, doesn't just feel like chaos--it also feels like life ("Pa Lante," "1234") **

Street Signs [Concord, 2004]
In which the agitating L.A. salsa-rap collective vanquishes the tendency of rock en español's constituent parts to stick out like tree roots or TV antennas. Arab sounds from Hassan Hakmoun to dancehall diwali articulate Hispanic music's Moorishness when we need it most, yet fit right in, and the horns on "Déjame en Paz" could be ska or some Mexican ur-polka. Everything jumps, which makes the Iberian romanticism of the closing "Cuando Canto" easier to take--though it helps that, as usual with these guys, the romanticism has a political purpose, which starts with their people and radiates outward. A-

Fire Away [Concord, 2010]
"Gay Vatos in Love" Choice Cuts