Eric Bobo lives and breathes rhythm. The Cypress Hill/Beastie Boys percussionist has done so since the age of four – and being the son of late Latin jazz percussionist Willie Bobo hasn’t hurt him in the least. Therefore, it makes sense why the latest record by the Queens-bred Bobo is Welcome to the Ritmo Machine. We couldn’t think of a better name.
For the album, the 43-year-old teamed up with Chilean DJ Latin Bitman and the resulting sound is a mind-blowing blend of Latin jazz from ‘60s and ‘70s New York City, along with modern-day electronic beats. For starters, there’s the “Welcome to the Ritmo Machine,” a short and sweet introduction to the album that features sounds of drums underlying an electronic-sounding voice. The rest of the album sounds much like this – a rich combination of funky beats, mixing in both old and new sounds.
“Witness This Heat” starts with a mellow tone, but picks up the pace rapidly thanks to a rap by Ozomatli founding member Chali 2na. In the male-dominated album, it was extremely refreshing to hear the female voice of Chilean rapper Ana Tijoux in the groovy track “La Calle.” The album review would be far from complete if we didn’t highlight “Maestro.” The track, which is inspired by old school hip-hop funk dipped in Latin flavor, contributes to Welcome to the Ritmo Machine’s tone. In addition to Tijoux and Chali 2na, the laundry list of features on Welcome to the Ritmo Machine includes Beastie Boys alumni Mixmaster Mike, Money Mark, and Sen Dog from Cypress Hill.
With his hands, Bobo has brought us another piece of tremendous work. To expect anything less from the seasoned percussionist would be an insult to Bobo and his craft.