Pop & Hiss

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Album review: Pitbull's 'Rebelution'

August 31, 2009 |  6:47 pm

Pitbull It's truly refreshing to hear a rapper who doesn't need to equate himself to the '90s titans. "R.I.P., uh, Big and Pac," Pitbull rhymes on "I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)." "That, he's not, but damn he's hot."

Pitbull's not a bad rapper -- he has a strong rhythmic pocket, laced with Spanish ad libs that could make a Minuteman blush. But Pitbull's a better party starter, and he knows it. His latest album "Rebelution" is a lighter affair than 2007's "The Boatlift" and 2006's politically-tinged "El Mariel"; it's rife with aspirant bangers in every au courant flavor.

Singles like "I Know You Want Me" and "Hotel Room Service" have been as unkillable on radio as Michael Myers is in the "Halloween" franchise. That's a net positive for pop music -- both are saucy, absurd floor-fillers you can practically feel breathing down your neck. But Pitbull's run-up success might make the release of "Rebelution" something of an afterthought now. The record's top-heavy, with the back end succumbing to sodden tracks like "Juice Box" and the rote absent-parents lament "Daddy's Little Girl."

With "Rebelution," Pitbull's filled a rakish niche in pop-rap. "I ain't no thug, I ain't no gangsta, I'm a hustler," he rhymes. If he wants to hustle curvy ladies and expensive speedboats, well, that sounds like more fun than a '90s bi-coastal turf war.

--August Brown

Two and a half stars