Pitbull M.I.A.M.I.

All that’s holding gifted MC Pitbull back is his allegiance to crunk — the irritating, party rap style that is thought to have been pioneered by personalities like Lil John and DJ Smurf in Atlanta. According to the 23-year old Cuban-American Bull, however, the bass-driven music actually started in his hometown of Miami, and his pride in this fact probably means he’ll stick with crunk for some time yet. It’s a shame because the finest moments on Money Is A Major Issue are both Lil John and crunk-free. This debut record showcases Bull’s powerfully speedy flow, hardcore lyricism, and multi-cultural musical influences on mesmerising tracks like "She’s Freaky,” "I Wonder,” and "Get on the Floor.” When the crunk tracks do work, it’s thanks to the music’s exuberant infectiousness such as the Cuban-flavoured dance track "Culo,” or guest spots like Fat Joe on "That’s Nasty.” Too often, however, Pitbull’s skills as an MC are submerged in the throbbing beats and party vibe of this record when it’s clear he’s capable of something more substantial. As a result, by and large, M.I.A.M.I. will not appeal to those outside of the Luther Campbell/crunk set. (TVT)