'Tuned In' review: Pitbull cranks up the heat on 'Warming'

'Global Warming' by Pitbull

"Global Warming" by Pitbull

“Global Warming,” Pitbull (RCA)

You can’t throw a party without friends, and Pitbull rounds up a whole pack of them for his new “Global Warming.”

Top-shelf buddies like Usher, Afrojack, Jennifer Lopez, Enrique Iglesias, Christina Aguilera and Chris Brown pop in and out of his explosive mix, yet none of them upstage their host.

The Miami-native, Cuban-American rapper also indirectly invites others into his anything-goes concoction by way of sampling and reinterpretation. Yes, that’s a snippet of Los Del Rio’s “Macarena” on the introductory track. And yes, after Aguilera does some piano-backed emoting at the beginning of “Feel This Moment,” Pitbull helicopters in on a revamped riff of a-ha’s “Take on Me” to blow up the song. Also, Sheryl Crow is brought in the back door (by way of a swipe of her “All I Wanna Do”) on the party track “Have Some Fun” starring the inspired pairing of the U.K. boy band The Wanted and Dutch DJ Afrojack. “Global Warming” also features the “Men in Black 3” soundtrack cut “Back in Time,” which includes both a dubstep break and bits of “Love Is Strange,” a 1956 R&B hit by Mickey & Sylvia that was on the “Dirty Dancing” soundtrack and also subverted for the score of the porn film “Deep Throat.”

That’s the awesome/perilous thing about Pitbull: He knows no limits.

His risky adventures work especially well on the feverish “Have Some Fun,” the bone-rattling-beat-backed single “Don’t Stop the Party” and the Lopez duet “Drinks for You (Ladies Anthem),” where the two vocalists trade coy lines in an inventive electro-lounge-rap-dance context.

For all the playful payoffs, however, appearances by Brown and Usher are rote (as are most of the traditional rap/pop/dance moments), and the Iglesias cut is more schoolboy crude than grown-man clever. Plus Pitbull just sounds more natural whooping it up in the bold, over-the-top arrangements than he does in the more formulaic production.

As “Global Warming” proves, Pitbull’s an aggressive party animal, not a lap dog.

Rating (five possible): 3-1/2

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