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Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013
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Aural Pleasure Review

Ana Tijoux: 'La Bala'

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French-Chilean MC Ana Tijoux's second solo album (and third overall) isn't an album, it's a Molotov cocktail assembled by a girl who doesn't rap, but spits fire. Even though she was too young to go through the worst years of Pinochet's dictatorship, she knows her history and the reason her parents had to flee to Paris. But she goes beyond Chile, and in her first single, "Shock," she joins Chilean student's calls for fair education while mixing in a lethal indictment of modern global capitalism in the most effective musicalization of Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine. (Even Klein herself tweeted about Tijoux's "terrific" NPR interview, mentioning how the rapper talked about "shock doctrine and resistance.") The first half of the album is all out, with each line a bullet, each word a knife. The more relaxed, not-as-explosive second half is Tijoux at rest after having set the world on fire. On February 13, La Bala (the bullet) reached the triple crown: number one on iTunes Latino hip-hop charts, Amazon, and eMusic. With all due respect to the overrated 1977, La Bala is the ultimate Ana Tijoux album and a lesson on great hip-hop writing in any language.

★★★ ½ (out of 5 stars)

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