ArtOfficial - Big City Bright Lights
The most underappreciated form of hip-hop performance is rapping accompanied by live instrumentation. The Roots excepted, not many artists are fond of using real instruments in the creation and performance of their work. Newcomers ArtOfficial, however, seem to embody the exception to this rule. Stepping onto the scene with their album Fist Fights and Foot Races, which peaked at #4 on the Japanese Tower Records charts, the sextet finished in third place at this year’s Lollapalooza’s ‘Last Band Standing’ competition. On Big City Bright Lights, a song from their previously-released Stranger EP, emcees Newsense and Logics rap over a jazzy, big-band sound that simply could not be duplicated with synthesizers and 808 loops. Thanks to the musical contributions of keyboardist Danny Perez, drummer Manny Patino, bassist Ralf Valencia, and saxophonist Keith Cooper, ArtOfficial has a rather real edge on their competition.