Ozomatli – Don’t Mess With The Dragon

Don't Mess With The DragonOn their fourth full-length studio release, Ozomatli serve up a rhythmically seething musical mélange that serves as virtual mirror to the dizzying cultural contradictions at the heart of their Los Angeles hometown, wrapping it in a studio-polished veneer (largely courtesy of Santana/Ricky Martin producer KC Porter) that only underscores their intriguing reflections. They wear their civic pride as badge of honor on the gritty “City of Angels,” a hip-hop-funk-fusion anthem that courses straight from the street to the stars. The joyous “La Temperatura,” a tribute to the city’s pro-immigrant marches of ’06, picks up the local thread and weaves it into the band’s longstanding social conscience, one they focus on Washington’s inept response to Hurricane Katrina via the savory, N’Awlinz-meets-Norwalk swagger of “Magnolia Soul.” The title track hints at a few conquered personal demons, while the sultry, Los Lobos-esque Spanish ballad “Violeta,” the infectious 80s-ska-funk-meets-00s-punk-pop of “When I Close My Eyes,” and the hip-hop-jarocho stew “La Segundo Mano” (featuring Queztal’s Martha Gonzales on vocals) stand as vibrantly disparate testaments to the band’s true range of pan-cultural musical fervor and accomplishments. –Jerry McCulley

Release Date: 2007
Label: Concord Records

Website: Ozomatli.com

Track Listing:

  1. Can’t Stop
  2. City Of Angels
  3. After Party
  4. Don’t Mess With The Dragon
  5. La Gallina
  6. Magnolia Soul
  7. Here We Go
  8. La Temperatur
  9. Violeta
  10. Creo
  11. When I Close My Eyes
  12. La Segunda Mano