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Thread: Week Thirty One ...........................Art Official... Fist Fights and Feet Races

  1. #1
    Fifth Beatle gryphon's Avatar
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    Oct 2009
    South Netherlands

    Default Week Thirty One ...........................Art Official... Fist Fights and Feet Races

    Art Official...................................Fist Fights and Feet Races

    This week It is Mr Soul in the Driving seat:

    So I'm anxious to see what he is going to say...............................

    Here Is The Link

    Download link:
    Last edited by gryphon; 27-08-2010 at 08:16.
    Nice to be able to go back to trust and friendship!!!!!!!!!

    It's a mixed up sensation this being alive
    Oh! it wears a man down into the ground
    It's the strangest elation
    I can't describe it
    Oh it leaves a man weary
    It makes a man frown.
    .............................Chris Simpson ( "Mixed Up Sensations" 1975 Martin's Cafe )

  2. #2
    Band Manager Thraak's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Stirling, Scotland

    Post ArtOfficial- Fist Fights & Foot Races Review

    Third Review!

    For my long overdue third review, I have followed my routine of note taking more strictly than last time round due to the choice of album which happens to be the first of my all-time favourites painstakingly chosen from a five album short list of my collection. I chose the following album because it stood out from the other four & almost the rest of my entire record collection as a hip hop/jazz 'crossover' album from a recent underground group named 'Art-Official' from Miami, Florida. I have read that they formed around 2006 & they had one EP released before this album entitled 'Stranger' which exclusively includes are 5-6 tracks, all of which were subsequently included on their first full length album 'Fist Fights & Foot Races'.

    I was first introduced to this album & group some time ago on a previous music forum by someone who randomly recommended it with a rare link for downloading. Once heard, I immediately made my own upload in order to preserve the accessibility of this excellent record.
    By my understanding, since the release of this record in 2008, they have taken America by storm & judging by some of their live performances on youtube, I have been extremely unlucky to be unable to witness them live. Due to the obscurity of this group amongst almost anyone I have ever mentioned them to, I have included a full list of the band members & a link to their official website.

    Logics (Vocals)

    Newsense (Vocals)
    Ralf Valencia (Bass)
    Keith Cooper (Saxophone/Flute)
    Danny Perez (Keyboard)
    Manny Patino (Drums)

    Download link:


    'Fist Fights & Foot Races' commences with a gloomy saxophone/flute intro which last for a mere 57 seconds but within that short time frame acts as an indication of some real depth to come on this album. 4/5

    2)Big Bright Lights

    First full length track of the album bursts into life with the fantastic leading lyric on which the two lead vocalists 'Newsense' & 'Logics' execute to such perfection that I decided to work out all of the lyrics to this fantastic song;

    Big city, bright lights yeah the type of a dream.

    And every dark avenue has a life full of secrets,
    Yeah lost in the sequence & found in the reason ,
    From the top of the buildings,
    To the edge of the beach,
    Big city bright lights yeah,
    From the top of the buildings,
    To the edge of the beach,
    Every dark avenue has a life full of secrets”.

    In 'Big City Bright Lights' they are describing their home city of Miami in a very unique way as you will see in the next batch of lyrics performed by 'Logics';

    From the land of the sun. Home of a million & one.

    Cultures that drum to different rhythms but we share the same tongue”

    Second verse is performed by the second vocalist 'Newsense';

    I'm in tune with it,

    The city's heart beats slow,
    I can feel it cos' the streets got a concrete pulse,
    Watch my feet grow roots, I stand so suddenly,
    Buildings keep growing like time lapse photography,
    Scrape the sky, scratch heaven's belly.
    Come to the city of god & catch seven deadly...sins,
    It's like chaos with electric heat & dead at night,
    The city lights give me restless sleep”.

    I have also included the third verse to complete an exclusive full lyrical inclusion for this song;

    "Cuban Princess, Mr Buisness.
    Mr Get Rich quick on a lottery ticket,
    Those out kickin', those out coppin'
    Those under bridges smokin' rocks
    No stoppin', pop lockin', corporate kiss ass on the search for stock options,
    Ravers,clubbers,hip hop lovers,
    Forced underground cos' we ain't trendy this summer,
    Yelling out for freedom for seekers,
    City made of secrets, walls made of silence,
    Sun comes down, traffic starts piling".

    Throughout the song and like most on this album, there is accompaniment from the excellent saxophonist/flutist Keith Cooper whom towards the end lets rip on a fantastic solo which ultimately ends an immensely poetic song. As you can proabably tell, I absolutely love this song and is the first in my own personal 'trilogy' of top notch songs featured on this genre-bending album. 5/5

    3)Skunk Ape

    Third track of the album opens with a much more jazz-funk based keyboard intro paired with a simultaneous bass & sax jam between Valencia & Cooper. Most of the lyrics are difficult to make out here but one particular line from the first verse by 'Newsense' is very imaginative;

    For the ignorant ones who don't know,

    They better ask who's rhymes don't flow
    But glide like pterodactyls”.

    'Skunk Ape's chorus which is met with still another soaring saxophone line from Cooper is amongst the most simple yet memorable of the album;

    Yeah, catch me five days a week singin' my tunes,

    On the weekends in-between dreams lickin' my wounds”

    Later on in the song, the song was given a new edge with some humorous lyrics;

    All right, people, my problems- I'm gonna' spit them at random
    So they can be memorized worldwide like national anthems.
    But watch well to keep one thing in mind before you chant them-
    Life is full of multiple choices just like a scam truck”.

    Lastly the song takes a political turn towards the end during Logic's verse;

    Now to the politicians, spitting ammunition.
    Using words of contradiction like religious terrorism”.

    This is where the album really takes off in terms of the rapping, which is turned up a notch and where the two MC's Logics & Newsense's colours really start to shine. Excellent track which contains the 'pterodactyls' lyric which is among my favourite on the album. 4/5.

    4)Eyes Of A Stranger

    Now! Track four on the album is something of a 'dark horse', if you like. First time I ever heard the intro (which starts off sounding like some kind of smooth jazz song with some slightly cheesy handclaps) I was immediately thought that it was to be a dip in depth for the album.

    Ironically, it turned out to be a real introspective track and I was (and still am) enthralled at the emotional awareness of the lyrics which are impeccable at least in parts. The main chorus which leads the song is the lyric I keep coming back to & feel I can relate to on a personal level;

    “And I bet, that I would make a lot of changes,

    If I could see myself through the eyes of a stranger,
    Times slows down, moves slower than a glacier,
    with every imperfection that's embedded in my nature”.

    'Eyes Of A Stranger' is a much slower paced track to that of it's predecessor's and has much more of a jazz leaning to it as a whole than the 2 previous tracks.

    More impressive lyrics from 'Logics' during the first verse;

    Well the more things change,

    Well the more they stay the same,
    Got a thousand ways to talk,
    And a million things to say,
    While I formulate the phrase,
    Let it travel in the wave,
    Only one thought that keeps circling the brain,
    Are you listening?
    While I work my words into position and
    Of all predicaments,
    I'm still working on my condition and,
    The stress resting on my shoulder makes me feel older,
    Accomplishing everything that you hope for,
    Walking the path between paths,
    Always hustling over,
    Moving fast makes your heart grow colder,
    Winning time in the mind,
    But I keep the summer shine in the pits,
    Grew wings from the spine,
    Got a nod from the clerics state,
    Down at earth serving time with the spirits,
    I could pick & host & then just mirror the image but,
    I'm into making a difference, into making it different,
    Point of the mission- So I'm left with reg'nition”.

    The songs ends with the saxophone intro serving as the outro and you are left with a trolley full of sensational & very original lyrics- many of which aren't included here.

    This song I personally see as their magnum opus and if you were to ask me to list a singular song which ultimately defines the lyrical efficiency, depth, & all round musical brilliance of this group; it would definitely be 'Eyes Of A Stranger'. 5/5

    5)Too Nasty

    Fifth track returns to the trend of 'Big Bright Lights' & 'Skunk Ape' with a more upbeat trend which proves that the preceding track 'Eyes Of A Stranger' is a very unique song in their catalogue.

    This track appears to be a sarcastic, self conscious statement about the bluntness of their lyrics and also their general approach to rapping. The opening lyrics seem to confirm this;

    Stop listen, that's how we get down,
    On mission, we can't stop now,
    On landing, ready & lockdown,
    That's how we do what we do, what we do.”

    Newsense hold it steady, (I'm-a-hold it in place)
    While I burn this verse that I grind & block the fire escapes,
    We're too nasty (uh huh uh huh huh)”.
    Yo, while the Logics hold it steady (I'm-a hold it right here)
    While I make these amateur rappers reconsider careers,
    We're too nasty, nasty (uh huh uh huh huh)”

    Yet more impressive lyrics; the 'fire escape' line in particular and several verses continue throughout the songs before the talented keyboardist Danny Perez gets some air time with a nice improvised solo which is met by successive sax & flute solos from Keith Cooper. Ultimately, this jam carries the song out and ends yet another high powered, energetic song. 4/5.


    'Gone' opens with an odd drum beat which gives off a jazz-funk vibe. The opening lyric is very catchy (“Sit back, drift back..”) and serve as the songs leading line. It is a critical song which lashes out at several fads in popular society such as “kids worshipping celebrities” and also politically with “terrorist or patriot- what's the difference?”.

    Throughout the song the usual intermittent passages between Cooper's flute & saxophone are by now cementing him as the star of this group outside of the two MC's. After all it is mostly him alone who brings the jazz vibe to what without him would essentially be another hip hop group, albeit an intelligent one.

    I would have liked to have included more lyrics to this song but just due to the sheer enormity of them plus the lack of any notation on the internet makes it far too lengthy a task even for me! 4/5.


    Seventh track and half way point of the album starts with a similar intro to that of 'Eyes Of A Stranger'. Opening lyric “My time is running out the clock wont stop” again removes the once laid back feel of the intro and brings a more urgent feel to the song.

    Again, 'Newsense' & 'Logics' verses are pretty intense with the ever present sax accompaniment which has makes this album such a unique experience.

    Included here are some of Newsense's verse which I found pretty impressive;

    I can't tell if the sky is falling,

    or the ground is rising,
    but I'm tired of walking,
    so I've found a hiding spot in the distance,
    let me submit this”.

    And it feels so good when the rhythm kicks back,
    and my passion dictates my actions,
    last man standing still take my chances,
    blast at random, escape from handcuffs”.

    Not long after these two verses and a short sax lead jam, you could be mistaken for thinking the song had all but finished when suddenly 'Clockworks' yet again bursts into life with a outstanding sax solo from the ever present Keith Cooper. This proves to be a very apt ending for what has proved to be one of the album's most memorable tracks. 5/5

    8)Bottle Of Hope

    Unlike most of it's predecessors there is no jazzy instrumental intro to this song; instead it dives straight into the opening verse;

    If I could then I would,

    but I guess that I wont,
    cos' I've got better things to do,
    with this bottle of hope.
    If I could sing then I would sing,
    but I can't hit a note,
    so I'm-a rearrange these words,
    and give you something to quote”.
    If I could fly, then I'd fly,
    but I can't stay afloat,
    above the clouds so for now,
    I'll play it cool on the ground”.

    This verse serves as the main chorus of the song which appears a general statement about having lost motivation in life. Soon after the song shows a more political side with the following critical lyrics mostly aimed at the police force;

    We used to play bows & arrows,

    now it's all smoke & barrels and
    dirty cops who will put your face on
    the front of the Herald or The New York Times.”

    The above portion of lyrics demonstrate how the situation (presumably in Miami) has changed since their childhood days ('bows & arrows') and how crime has risen ('smoke & barrels') instead.

    Towards the end, the song takes a temporarily optimistic turn with an inspirational line from 'Newsense';

    It's been 24 years

    and I'm just now recognizing,
    there's now way I can avoid it,
    my life is an assignment,
    to constantly move forward,
    and never back-pedal,
    spread my words across the globe,
    like grenades to scrap metal.
    Wait these accusations are killing me,
    I didn't kidnap your kids,
    they actually came willingly,
    Life, yeah, life is a lucid dream,
    and I'm-a play my part like a movie scene”.

    The interesting lyrics above seem to be spoken from the point of view of a incarcerated criminal who has realised that he has to let go of the past despite whether he believes he is guilty of a crime or not. This could be possibly linked to the previous mention of 'dirty cops who will put your face on the front of the Herald' of earlier.

    Overall, a very moving and cleverly written song which undoubtedly many listeners will be able to relate to. 5/5.
    Last edited by Thraak; 31-08-2010 at 22:34.

  3. #3
    Band Manager Thraak's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Stirling, Scotland

    Default ArtOfficial- Fist Fights & Foot Races Review (Continued)

    9)Remember The Days

    Track nine continuing in the reflective vein of it's predecessor returns to the pattern of a jazzy saxophone intro before once again flying into yet another lyrical onslaught from Newsense;

    I'm never really threatened,

    when MC's stand and deliver,
    cos' my worthiest opponent,
    is the man in the mirror.
    Throw a punchline,
    end up with a broken fist,
    a vocalist, who's only purpose,
    is to teach him how to co-exist.”

    Excellent self-conscious lyrics which give the listener an insight into the artist's personality and Logics directly addresses the listener towards the end;

    Hey, yo just kick a beat,

    I'm-a rip it right here,
    Art-official is official,
    taking over this year,
    work the crowd into a frenzy,
    get them out of their chairs,
    drowning in the mainstream,
    here's a breath of fresh air”.

    A breath of fresh air, indeed! Towards the end we are treated to yet another of Keith Cooper's excellent heartfelt saxophone solos which fits as the perfect climax for another chapter of brilliance. 5/5.


    'Rewind' opens with a very funk based bass line to serve as intro and for a second, you could easily forget you are listening to a hip hop group before the vocalist comes in with the opening line which includes the excellent lyrics;

    You're probably not listening
    if you think it's wrong.
    Newsense; my friends call me Guillotine John.
    Call me what you want,
    I'm-a ask you what you need,
    My skin's been getting so thick,
    it's kinda tough to bleed.”

    Track 10, like 'Bottle Of Hope', is a song about always moving on through thick and thin and never looking back with the cocky recurring lyric “Mr Selector, give me one more gunshot”.
    This is yet again another excellent track and 'Consistency' seems to be this album's middle name. 4/5

    11)Word Bending

    To complete my trilogy of favourite songs of this album (along with 'BCBL' & 'Eyes') we have yet another self proclamation from Artofficial in which they offer some advice to those who dare describe them as rappers whom they obviously want to distance themselves from;

    This ain't rapping, it's word bending,
    lyrical acupuncture for your nerve endings,
    Y'all ain't rhyming, y'all just pretending,
    you can't fathom the way
    that we twist a sentence.”

    The above lyrics, first line in particular, I consider to be the finest of the album although there are many other great lines (“While you sit & write rhymes I sit & home and write epics”)
    They attempt to define their music here and free themselves from obvious rap/hip hop clichés which would unfairly draw them closer in categorisation to the mainstream, which from listening to this album they obviously oppose.

    Around 2.20 is a nice bass interlude from Valencia which offers some rest bite from the pretty intense onslaught from the two MC's. They cement their message right at the end after a glorious saxophone solo from my personal star of the album, Keith Cooper with an enforced outro of simultaneous beats & syllables (those of the by now famous main lyric).

    Fantastic song and this despite being near the end would be the perfect introduction to this band and offers a greater understanding of them by the time you reach this point in the album. 5/5.

    12) Architect

    A dark and melancholic feel to the intro of this song led by an eerie keyboard riff sets this song out from the rest of the album and has a more electronic feel to it throughout despite heralding some fantastic lyrics which seem to be simply run of the mill for these little known MC's 'Newsense' & 'Logics'. Opening lyric in particular stands as one of the very best on the album along with several others throughout the song.

    “I'm the architect, of a hard to catch punchline,

    I blame cloud 9 for trying to steal my sunshine.”
    The truth lies, while deception walks erect,
    Each step is in some way symbolic to a deep breath”.

    The song's title coupled with a lot of inspirational lyrics throughout could perhaps suggest a desire to rebuild the world, particularly the chorus;

    I wanna know if we can see without eyes,
    I wanna know if we can speak without lies.
    So I'm gonna open up my chest
    and let you touch me for a while,
    then heaven send hell away
    and cut me with a smile”.

    Later on in the song, amongst more deeply impressive lyrics there is one line in particular which stands out;

    ...we analyse each other's dreams & still can't figure out reality”.

    'Architect' ends with the same haunting keyboard riff with which it begun and serves as the final lyrical track on the album. 5/5

    13)Sound Check On Saturn

    Brilliantly titled 13th track opens with a very atmospheric bassline and signature sax before the song flows into a nice jam with interplay from sax, keyboard and bass. It actually serves as the perfect ending to what has been an album mostly dominated by the two MC's and shows that the musicians surrounding the two lyricists are more than merely just session musicians. Overall this is one of those instrumentals which you could listen to over and over again. 4/5

    14)Big City Bright Lights (Shin-Ski Remix)

    This is an extra bonus track which is a remix of the excellent track 2 on the album. However, I was baffled as to the need to remix what was originally a near perfect song in both lyrical and musical aspects. On this version, there is a much more electronic feel in comparison to the more hip hop feel of the original and most disappointingly for me, a lot of the instrumental passages have been replaced by unvaried beats which pale in comparison.

    Ultimately, I did not enjoy this remix and found it to take too much away from the feel of the original. (2/5)

    Overall Album Rating 4/5

    Conclusively, I think most people will agree with me when I say that, despite all of it's attractions, it is the lyrics on this album which are the most impressive above anything else. I must stress that the lyrics included were only tiny snippets from a vast ocean of immensely unique and intelligent lyrics. But it is the way in which they are so painstakingly perfectly crafted and executed by the two MC's which along with Keith Cooper's Saxophone/Flute accompaniments, along with equally important roles from Perez, Patino & Valencia, make this such a memorable album.

    For me personally, this was and still is a once in a lifetime experience and made me see Hip-Hop in a whole new light. Despite being mostly a amateur when it comes to the world of hip-hop and jazz (to a lesser extent), I knew right away that this was a masterful fusion of the two genres and it will be very interesting to hear what some other more experienced Jazz-Rap listeners have to say as I am aware that this is not the first time the two genres have been combined.

    Finally, I believe that this group, the two MC's in particular have set a new standard for future intelligent 'rappers'. 'Fist Fights & Foot Races' is an album of extreme depth with some of the most awe inspiring lyrics period and I highly recommend this album to any open-minded music fan.
    Last edited by Thraak; 01-09-2010 at 08:22.

  4. #4
    Grumpy Old Man Music Head's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Lancaster, Kentucky, United States


    I'm stunned, and my eyes are still refocusing.

    Nice review
    “A man only learns in two ways, one by reading, and the other by association with smarter people.”
    Will Rogers

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