Music » Livewire

Ozomatli

With the Aphrodesiatics. Saturday, June 4, at the House of Blues.

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It's hard to talk about Ozomatli without coming off like some chai-drinking, dashiki-wearing boho hipster. To wit: The socially conscious, knock-you-on-your-ass party grooves of the band's latest, Street Signs, offer a blend of hip-hop, funk, Latin, and Middle Eastern flavors that compel earnest white people like us to use phrases like "global block party." Set amid an inspired cameo from Latin-jazz visionary Eddie Palmieri, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan samples, and wailing Santana-style guitar solos, the title track alone demonstrates the sheer force of which Ozomatli is capable. Opening with a sweet salsa keyboard motif, the song builds on a sick syncopated rhythm, then modulates into a synthesized snare beat before seguing effortlessly into sparse, bass- and scratch-heavy old-school crunk. Still, the MCs rhyme, "There's more to this track than a kick and a snare." Damn straight. There are soaring vocals, fluid rhymes, and a barrage of brass and percussion that, despite all the ingredients, manage not to sound like too many cooks in the kitchen. Now, fetch us a dashiki.

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