Ozomatli - Embrace The Chaos

The last time I witnessed an Ozomatli* live performance was at the Rage Against the Machine and Ozomatli concert held in front of Democratic National Convention at the Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles. What was supposed to be a free concert for social commentary through music turned into a war zone courtesy of the Los Angeles Police Department. When L.A.P.D. troops in full riot gear pulled the plug in the middle of an Ozomatli set and order the crowd to disperse. Resulting in mini-riot when the nefarious L.A.P.D. started firing rubber projectiles and spraying suffocating tear-gas directly at the crowd. The band members of Ozomatli were also caught in the middle of the mayhem. The chaotic event left battle scars seared in the memory and heart of the group. They used the negative energy of being repressed as fuel for their fire. Channeling their energy and emotions into their music they created a masterpiece called "Embrace the Chaos" the titled and theme of their second release.

Ironically, "Embrace the Chaos" was released on 9/11 the day the World changed due to terrorism of a magnitude never witness on American soil.

The album delivers the raw energy of their live performances that gained them a strong fan based. The album starts out with a party type track "Pa Lante", and continues with "1234" featuring the group De La Soul of Long Island, New York. On the following song "Dos Cosas Ciertas" new member Kanetic Source raps about the only two things guaranteed in life, Death and Change. On "Vocal Artillery", L.A. underground Queen Medusa and Wil.I.Am were called on to launch their verbal skills behind the inspired-hip-hop-funky-Ozomatli track, resulting in one of the stronger tracks of the album. The momentum of "Vocal Artillery" is carried over onto "Guerrillero", a Spanish track dedicated to the "Guerrilleros" who struggle and fight together in solidarity in the front lines. On the album-titled song "Embrace the Chaos", the tempo is slowed down to an ominous pace as guest rapper Common delivers his conscious thought provoking rhymes that sums up the theme of the album into one song. The heavy Latin-influenced songs "Timido" (Timid), "Mi Alma" (My Soul), and "Suenos en Realidad" (Dreams in Reality) are a harmonic convergence of different styles and genres of Latin music covering a broad spectrum of sounds, but making them uniquely Ozomatli.

As Ozomalti refines their musically style, they are defining a generation that's as multicultural and multidimensional as their music. The only "constant" we have in our society is "change". It takes revolutionary artists such as Ozomatli to use the chaos that surrounded them as a catalyst for social change through music.

La lucha sigue!
Sal Rojas

*Ozomatli is named for the Aztec god of dance. Ozomatli is the symbol for the 11th day on the Aztec Sun Stone and is represented on the Sun Stone by a monkey.

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