Ozomatli's latest effort, Don't Mess with the Dragon, is a fusion of Spanish rock, hip-hop, reggaeton, and funk, the perfect crossover release. The nine-man Ozomatli has put together a dozen tunes for the group's fourth full-length CD, most of them happy dance tracks. The opening song, "Can't Stop," is polished and infectious. If you think you hear echoes of Ricky Martin's "Maria" or "Shake Your Bon-Bon," you're right. Martin's producer, K.C. Porter, had a hand in Dragon. Along with "Can't Stop," the ballad "Violeta," with its rough rap chorus, is especially nice. "Creo," a bilingual hip-hop/reggaeton tune, and "After Party" both demand dancing. There are some missteps on Dragon. Track two, "City of Angels," is too similar to opener "Can't Stop" to follow it (at best it's just more of the same, at worst it's poor production), but listeners with their iPods stuck on permanent shuffle won't notice. "Magnolia Soul" is just trying too hard to be cool; it comes off forced and dated. And then there's that Ricky Martin echo....
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Olivia Flores Alvarez