Ana Tijoux: Sharpshooter

It's easy to talk about what distinguishes Ana Tijoux because, well, so many things do: She's a Chilean MC in a Latin rap game dominated by Caribbean, Mexican and American artists; she's a female MC in a world of male voices; she's a Spanish-spitting MC who honed her craft living in exile in France. But despite—or rather, because of—what sets her apart, it's Tijoux's artistic confidence that stands out on her second global release. La Bala shoots through richly detailed production universes: lush, super-hero symphonies; formidable marches; fuzzed-up jazz; bubbling waterworlds of trippy beats and psychedelic guitars.

Tijoux governs each with an ironclad flow, her unrelenting Spanish setting target after target on fire. On "Shock," for instance, she leads an oom-pah-ing army of brass in support of Chile's fervent educational reform movement. "Las Cosas por Su Nombre" delivers a scathing takedown of government corruption over a spread of brokedown, deconstructed industrial beats. Both Tijoux's rapping and her singing (which she does a good deal of here) are low and softly incendiary, forcing you to lean in and really listen to her distinctive, quietly powerful voice. Tijoux's raps transcend borders while educating global ears. – Rachel Devitt, Google Play

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