For The Urban Sophisticates, it’s all about innovative hip-hop. This Southeast based band began in 2002 and has since acquired a surging national following due to powerful, high-energy live performances. The group combines a mix of influences ranging from smooth soul to smoky jazz to alternative hip-hop. The Urban Sophisticates’ unique sound starts with the Philadelphian vocal duo of brothers Aaron and Benton James. Aaron’s range covers melodic harmonies to powerful crescendos, while Benton has built a reputation as a charismatic front-man MC with clever lyrics and a steady flow. The horns section of the band boasts trombonist Sal Mascali and Jeremy Denman on trumpet.This pair adds a unique punctuation to the innovative lyricism of the James brothers by weaving both subtle accompaniment and innovative, robust jazz solos into the Urban act. Drummer Romondo Jessup keeps the rhythm intact with just the right combination of steadiness and flair, accented by trademark nonchalance. New addition Benjamin Perkins seamlessly shifts from hard hitting guitar riffs to silky, jazzy rhythms that offer a surreal escape from typical live-show fare. Bassist Ricky Nxumalo calls on influences from both an American musical upbringing and a South African/Swazi heritage to produce unrivaled creativity on the bass guitar.
All this innovation comes in a package of men of character who take their faith seriously enough to keep their lyrics clean and their shows classy, while maintaining a down to earth feel that attracts fans from all sources. The Urban Sophisticates have shared the stage with such notable acts as Lela James, Arrested Development, Talib Kweli, KRS-1, and the band’s current producer, Nicolay from Holland. The Urban Sophisticates’ crew is stacked throughout, with each player shining every night.