Thursday, November 02, 2006

Pitbull's El Mariel: Worth your $9.99

The other day a buddy of mine called me his "rap clearinghouse." There's so much music out there and he likes so little of it that he had given up on hip-hop for about three years. Then a few weeks ago I started bugging him to listen to Rhymefest and Lupe Fiasco (since we are living in Chicago, it felt almost like his duty) and now he's got about 86 dudes in Taiwan cranking "Get Down" and "I Gotcha." Good times all around.

Well, Pitbull's new album El Mariel is the latest album I've insisted he check out. I know that Miami's hip-hop scene isn't for everyone, but this is a beast. Nearly every song is worth repeat listens, the production level is very high, and Pitbull himself is finally fulfilling the promise of that Nas track he jumped on a few years ago.

The track "Hey You Girl" is my new favorite "club jam" rap song, incorporating a crazy sample from The B-52's "Rock Lobster." I'm not sure if I like the sample, the fact that it sounds like it could be the background music from a Bond video game, or how stupid people are going to look trying to dance to it (only the truly rhythmic should hit the floor for this one), or all of the above, but I can't get enough of it. In addition to "Hey You Girl," there are at least five other tracks that rank somewhere in the neighborhood of "awesome." Plus, while I don't have the production credits on this yet, I am pretty sure that there are multiple tracks by my favorite Southern producer, DJ Toomp. There is quite a bit to be excited about here.

There's a lot of new hip-hop music out there demanding your attention - from the leaked Game album to Jay-Z's comeback tour to the return of Nas, Snoop, and the Clipse - so this bad boy could easily slip through the cracks. Don't let it happen. This joins T.I.'s King, Lil Wayne's Tha Carter 2, and Chamillionare's The Sound of Revenge as one of the best albums to come out of the South in the last two years.

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