- OriginDiamond Bar, CA
- Genreship hop
Cloud 9 Articulate – 4 Your Listening Pleasure (2007)
Memoirs Of… (2018)
AO – Irregular (2018)
AO Feat. Glass Bottom Boat – Transplants (2018)
AO is back
Though AO (formerly known as Art Official) is only now releasing his debut album, he is no stranger to the stage and the microphone. He was a leading member of the heavy-weight and OC-based crew Cloud 9 Articulate back in the day where he was known to command the crowds. His loose delivery and punchline-laden rhymes often appeared effortless live where he was well known for busting freestyles mid-set when the DJ got busy. It was during this time (roughly 2006) that Cloud 9 would release their only album “4 Your Listening Pleasure,” which featured AO on both some rhymes and beats along side Subconscious, Gray Dei and Theory. The album was well received by their fans with AO’s track “Hot Box” representing his talents and influence in the group.
The years that followed this release, Cloud 9 grew their reach by performing in and around Orange County. Subsequently, AO had continued to stay in touch with Cal-S-thetics and Tone Dogg Raw of Glass Bottom Boat, the three of whom had known each other since high school through mutual friends. The three were fans of each other’s work and thus became friends through their similar tastes in music and ambitions to make it a mainstay in their lives. AO took that connection to the next level when he invited Glass Bottom Boat to accompany Cloud 9 on their biggest show to date opening for Ice-T. Needless to say, the “Glass Bottom Boys” gladly accepted the offer and the two groups delivered a stellar performance that night. Thus, started a period of time where the super group began performing throughout Southern California regularly opening for notable acts such as Pharaohe Monch, KRS-One, Killa Priest, 2Mex, Rebels to the Grain and Self Scientific to name a few.
While the super group continued to build their position in the local spotlight, they began work on some follow-up projects; one being the sophomore Cloud 9 album and the most relevant to this story being AO’s own solo project, “Aficiando.” A few of the songs were released for his fans to enjoy through his Myspace profile and also performed at shows that AO was booked for. Namely, the inspring “Depth of My Soul,” the ode to his hood “Valley View,” as well as a few others. However, neither project saw its completion and through a series of twists and turns, the super group failed to continue their momentum splintering, Cloud 9 would eventually stop performing as a collective unit, and AO himself started seeing music take a backseat to his other ambitions. And with that, the story seemed to be over as quickly as it started.
Years passed and AO’s blossoming career in music seemed like a distant memory. He was now a father of 2 beautiful children and had worked his way up into becoming a successful general manager at a local restaurant company. However, one fateful day an old friend would come visit him on the job with a gift. That friend, Cal-S-thetics had been assisting Tone Dogg Raw with the launch of Doggma Uno and with it the first official release from the label, “Optimo.” Cal gave AO the album and they planned to meet up again when time allowed to hear what the Glass Bottom Boat had been up to.
It was months later before the two met up and on that late night, AO and Cal-S- went through song after song of both the in-progress “Definitive: A Year in the Nebula” projects as well as others. AO later told Cal that he was “floored” by the amount of work that had taken place and Cal’s attempts to coax AO back into music. While AO didn’t immediately return to his penchant for the pen and the mic, he did start sporadically attending recording sessions at Zero Dogg Thirty Studios when both Tone or Glass Bottom Boat were working. It wasn’t until a few months later that he put the pen to the pad and crafted his first song in a number of years “Irregular” featuring his former bandmate Gray Dei and Tone Dogg Raw. And while it seemed like it was just a one-off, AO himself didn’t know that it was only the beginning of his reintroduction to music.
Presently, just roughly 24 months from that first song, AO is busy promoting his debut album, “Memoirs Of,” which is a very personal album addressing a very near time in his life that he experienced more than his fair share of difficulties. The time, while consumingly painful, sparked a sleeping giant and his pen became sharp with insights and found stories and poems bursting from the wounds. These rhymes found easy homes on a number of dope beats within the Doggma Uno archive with talented producers Apollo Brown, Calvin Valentine, Duke Westlake and EQ- Ashtray of LA, all contributing beats to the “Memoirs.” AO’s at his finest on this project with songs like “Cheetos” displaying his clever wordsmithing and catchy sing-song songwriting. That said, the album was able to deliver many standout moments including the albums lead single, the banging “Pretty Music,” which was aptly captured visually by Enkrypt Los Angeles featuring many of AO’s family and close friends.
And while AO’s debut continues to be well received as he spreads the word of his creation, he has made it a point to not take any of this creative energy for granted. Unsurprisingly, he has found himself back in the lab working on a follow-up to “Memoirs Of…” tentatively titled, “The New Blues” in between his time working full-time as well as being a committed father; no easy task. “I’m ready to move on from the pain of ‘Memoirs,” AO admits when asked, “I’ve got a ton of ideas that didn’t have a home on that album that I feel I can explore now.” Surely, equipped with a cache of dope beats again, whatever AO decides to put down undoubtedly will be something fueled by his ambition to do his children and fans proud; something that will come across with raw emotion and sincerity.