ArtOfficial is a little bit of everything -- kinda like the Indie Hip-Hop Festival they're playing on Sunday.
By Rayme Samuels
More than 100 shows and a year and half later, ArtOfficial have proven themselves as creative forces to be reckoned with. Their delicately weaved combination of hip-hop, jazz and indie beats represent an exquisitely refined Miami sound. Having shared the stage with the likes of Krs One, The Sugarhill Gang and Pharaoh Monch, and rocking out at the Rock the Bells festival headlined by Wu-Tang and Nas, it's clear that this six-piece crew from Miami is racing on the fast track to stardom.
Joined from remains of one jazz and one hip-hop group, the motley crew of individuals shares a large range of influences; only adding to the fact that ArtOfficial can't be pigeonholed into only one genre. They are all fond of contemporary music pioneers who changed the face of music like Radiohead, The Beatles, The Roots, Black Star, Soul Live and A Tribe Called Quest. "Our sound comes together pretty naturally. We didn't sit down one day and decide which genres to mash together,' explained Logics, one of the bands two mouthpieces. "I think the people realize that when they hear us and that's why they like it."
This energetic and highly talented crew is comprised of Danny Keys on keyboard, Manolo Patino on drums, Ralfy Valencia on bass, Keith Cooper on saxophone and emcees Newsense and Logics on the mic. Their second spitfire album, Fist Fights and Foot Races, was recently released in Japan and peaked at #4 on Tower Records charts. As they shop for a label for their U.S. release, these guys work hard on fine tuning their collective sound. Their first compilation, Stranger, is a lyrical masterpiece. Saxophone heavy songs like "Big City, Bright Lights" sing the praises of their sultry hometown with lyrics like: "From the top of the buildings to the edge of the beaches, every dark avenue has a life full of secrets."
ArtOfficial gets a kick out of their unique success on the harried nightlife scene in Miami. Making it beyond the cookie cutter clubs is the true sign of success in their eyes. More than anything, these guys enjoy making believers out of discerning audiences that may start the night off skeptical of their fusion-heavy beats, but end up congratulating them after gigs. ArtOfficial definitely proves that Miami has much more to offer than just South Beach bubblegum pop.
"Ultimately, we want our audience to figure out what the music means to them. We also want them to have a good time," continued Logics. "I think some people forget that you can have fun with hip-hop. We want to remind them again." For more info, visit artofficialmusic.net.
The members of ArtOfficial.