Don't Mess with the Dragon
First Appeared in The Music Box, May 2007, Volume 14, #5
Written by Michael Cooney
Sat May 5, 2007, 06:00 AM CDT
The nine members of Ozomatli long have been favorite sons of Los Angeles. This is true not only because the majority of them were born and raised in the city, but also because the music of Ozomatli consistently has managed to capture the very essence of life in the City of Angels. In fact, the very composition of the outfit mirrors the racial and cultural diversity that is alive on Los Angelesí streets, and its lyrics offer precise reflections of the multiethnic metropolis rather than the false images of glittery Hollywood that typically are perpetuated in movies and on television.
Unlike the majority of current bands, Ozomatli makes music that defies categorization, and Donít Mess with the Dragon, the groupís latest studio effort, is its finest and most exciting work to date. On each track, Ozomatli constructs a joyous, musical hodgepodge of styles and cultural influences, and the results simply explode out of the speakers. From the albumís centerpiece City of Angels (with its brassy horns and growling electric guitars) to the silky, smooth grooves of After Party and Violeta, Ozomatli has succeeded rather delightfully in mashing up Spanish and English lyrics with Salsa rhythms, hip-hop break-beats, and touches of New Orleans jazz as well as Fishbone-inspired ska. Taken in full, it forms an irresistibly tasty concoction of Mexican-based rock and pop. These are simply the perfect summer jams for driving the freeways from the hills to the valley to East L.A. At its heart, Donít Mess with the Dragon is a nonstop celebration of ethic diversity and musical equality. Simply put, Ozomatli is Los Angeles. Ĺ
Don't Mess with the Dragon is available from
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2007 The Music Box