November 8, 2001

Test Spins: Ozomatli

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On their second album, Embrace the Chaos, Ozomatli proves that a marriage of rock and rap can be harmonious in the 21st century. Of course, they add a missing ingredient that makes their sound truly unique: Latin funk.

The new album samples the same melting pot of sounds that Ozomatli’s first disc dipped into. The album blends straight-up mariachi fare with hip-hop-laced Latin ska. The ska element is especially noticeable on “1234,” which exudes a party vibe with lyrics courtesy of hip-hop pioneers De La Soul.

Ozomatli uses their signature blend of sounds to relate their story of life in inner-city L.A. Although the subject matter may be serious, this band really seems to be having a lot of fun getting their message heard. It may seem utterly cacophonous to layer all these distinct musical patterns over one another, but as the album title demands, keep an open mind and welcome the confusion.

Archived article by Nikhil Swaminathan