Los Bad Apples are a five-piece Latin hip-hop group from Austin, Texas. The Apples are fronted by singer Anita Benner and emcee Zeale. Benner is a classically trained pianist and the de facto leader of the group. Zeale is a hungry, aggressive emcee, battle-tested at Cincinnati’s annual Scribble Jam. He bounces on these tracks with ease, bobbing and weaving like a trained welterweight. The band lays down an hour’s worth of up-tempo, dance-y Latin rhythms that serve as functional, if not bar-raising or neck-snapping.
Granted, the closest I’ve ever come to fully embracing “Latin hip-hop” is the first three Cypress Hill records, and maybe “La Raza” by Kid Frost, but Los Bad Apples as a whole merely seem to make “good” and not “great” music together. I would quickly and happily check out a full bossa nova album from Ms. Benner, or a full-length record from Zeale, but as a unit, they don’t add up. I’m sure their live show is a sight to see, but on record it only comes out adequate.