27 April, 2004@12:00 am
HHS: I’m sitting here with the Perceptionists, how are you guys doing?
Akrobatik: Definitely doing good man, we just on the second leg of the 6 week tour the never-ending leg of the tour.
HHS: Go ahead and introduce yourselves to those who don’t know who you are
Akrobatik: We are The Perceptionists and my name is Akrobatik
Fakts One: Fakts One
Mr Lif: Mr Lif, and we represent Boston (laughter)
HHS: That’s how it should be representing where you’re from, I’m going to talk to everybody. So Mr Lif, How long have you been in the game and who would you say are your major influences?
Mr Lif: I can speak for myself we all been in it different amounts of time. I started writing in ’93 then recorded my first song at the end of ’94 doing in to ’95. Influences I think I can almost speak collectively but everybody will have something different to add, you know? BDP, Public Enemy, Ultramagnetic MCs. Ask Fakts.
HHS: Fakts how about you?
Fakts One: Umm..I’ve been djing for way to long, I would say this is maybe my 10th year of professionally djing and going on the 11th. I’ve been making beats for like 4 or 5 years. But, as far as influences go, Gangstarr is probably the main one because they are from where I’m from, Edo G. Umm….I would say for me growing up my biggest influence was the radio, you know not so much any one individual group but rap on the radio period, like I would just sit there and record and have tapes and tapes and tapes of shows.
Akrobatik: I’ve rhymed pretty much forever man, since like 4th grade 5th grade something like that. I picked up on it real early but as far as in the game, quote quote in the game, I put out my first record in ’98 and started recording stuff for that in like ’96-’97. I’ve been in it a better half of a decade so as far as influences go, I would probably say like KRS is definitely the first person to come to mind, umm Q-Tip, Jungle Brothers, Rakim, LL Cool J…just like….Kane definitely, of course. Cats just all seem to be in their prime all at the same time man, you know what I’m saying? Public Enemy I can’t leave them out neither. The golden age, it sounds like a clichÃ© but it is really true if you look back at hip-hop to where it is now the time where there was the most dope artists all consistently putting out all hot shit was between ’88 and ’92
Mr Lif: I just want to give a shout out to Run DMC in there too, cause that’s the first tape I ever had.
HHS: Akrobatik, you and Mr Lif have put out numerous 12″s on different labels. Meaning some projects you guys have put out are on different labels, explain that?
Mr Lif: In short….labels are not usually good enough or worth to handle multiple projects. For instance the reason I did like 3 solo 12″s and like 10 guest appearances before I even released an EP was because I knew I needed to find a good home for my records before I started releasing actual projects that had more than 3 cuts on them. Because the worst thing is like, make and album or an EP and have a label not know how to put it out and have it flop, labels have to be able to reflect the effort of the artist, if they can’t match you with a business scheme that has the same intensity as what you put into the music you know what I’m saying. Then, you don’t need to mess with them. Most labels early in our career where only worth of getting a single from us here and there.
HHS: The “Show Starter” 12″ was my first dealings with the Perceptionists, I know there were early projects, what were they and what label were they released under?
Fakts One: I would say “Inhuman Capabilities” naw not really, I would say the “Show Starter” is the first legitimately Perceptionists project.
Mr Lif: “Avengers” on Enter the Colossus
Fakts One: Yeah, but before that we were always on records together in some sort of configuration, usually two out of three you know like it will be Ak and Lif on a song or it will be a beat I did for Ak or a beat I did for Lif or cuts I did for someone, but “Avengers” was the only song where it was all 3 of us. But, from my first single for my album I wanted to really put the crew forward you know, just kind of set it off because we made a conscious decision to start doing things as a group so I wanted that to be known just put it out there like ok this is how it’s going down, you know?
HHS: Now you are signed to Def Jux has a group, or they just decided to put out this 12″?
Fakts One: We are in the process of being signed to Def Jux, the 12″ is something we did for DJ X3, kind of like a little teaser you know? We are in negotiations for that right now, as we speak.
HHS: But, Def Jux is the label that the album will be dropping on?
Akrobatik: We are pretty much verbally committed we just haven’t inked the dotted line yet. They’ve shown that they want put the record out, and by us being on this tour and holding down the entire tour we have pretty much shown our commitment to label too. So you know it’s pretty much a go so you know?
HHS: There is a Perceptionists Album coming, can you tell us a little about that? Will there be any other producers other than Fakts and who are the guests?
Fakts One: I will of course be doing some tracks, we have some tracks by Cyrus, El-P but you know it’s a work in progress. We are literally doing songs on the tour bus, coming up with concepts and what not.
HHS: Guest appearances?
Akrobatik: Well, should I just let the cat out of the bag?
Fakts and Lif: Naw, Naw they’ll have to wait and see.
HHS: Ok Ok, I’m interested but I understand you guys wanted to keep that under wraps.
Akrobatik: We’ll tell you off the record.
HHS: As far as the album goes, it’s not done, but how many tracks would you say you have finished?
Akrobatik: Here’s the thing, because we are not recording on the bus, we still have to go back home and record the album, but the album is more than half done in terms of conceptualization and it’s almost half done in terms of being written. So we are getting there we have like 8 or 9 beats and the concepts.
Mr Lif: I’ll say it is a new experience for me, I don’t know about Ak and Fakts but we are writing the songs then performing them before we record them. I’ve always recorded then performed, so it is giving us a whole different slant on how the project is going, and letting us know the intensity that we need to approach our songs with in the lab and give it the overall live feel that we are going to want. Because we intend to tour consistently for our records, that’s the thing we intend on being a touring animal and performing the songs before we record them gives the idea of how to make it translate well into the live show.
HHS: That’s dope because in independent hip-hop you have to tour, you can’t live on trying to sell 12″s and LPs. So Fakts what advice do you have for up and coming producers, how did you get your production heard.
Fakts One: I actually learned to make beats from a friend, that wasn’t a part of the game I wasn’t actually exploring that part of the game in any way, shape or form it kind of stumbled on me by accident. I just happen to know emcees some emcees, for instant I was playing a beat in my dorm room and Ak came in like “That’s kinda dope”, next thing I know I have a beat on a 12″ man, you know. I would say take your time to hone your craft, like I’m just now starting to feel confident in the stuff that I do. Don’t rush into like you got some joints, when you know you only have a couple of hot joints and listen to your stuff with an unbiased ear, that’s the hardest part. Be open to hear other peoples unbiased opinions, play it for you mom who doesn’t really like hip-hop then play it for somebody who loves hip-hop and take their feedback into account.
HHS: Lif and Akro, you guys have been doing this for sometime where do you see hip-hop going?
Mr Lif: No Comment (Laughing)
Akrobatik: I would say there is not much to say about that, because I can’t predict the future. But, I will say whatever is going to happen we are going to be there and hopefully we won’t be the only ones out that are talking some sense on some records.
HHS: So you would say hip-hop is on a downward slide?
Akrobatik: I would say it has leveled off at a low point, it’s not like it’s on a downward slide, and it’s not getting worse and worse. It’s gotten about as bad as and it’s staying there. Now, does that mean that everybody out sucks….no, because there are a lot of dope artists out there, but as far as what is being mass produced and what is being seen….I mean I saw some BET today and it made me like seriously want to gag.
Mr Lif: Makes you angry
Akrobatik: Yeah, it makes you violent and angry because it’s just so bad because it is hard to believe that people take it seriously and support it. In a real sense that isn’t even really hip-hop, that is really just TV and marketing and advertising for pop music. As far as hip-hop, I would like to see it revert back to the dope dope live show, like Freshfest, Public Enemy back then was playing stadiums, Run DMC stadiums, Beastie Boys stadiums. We want people start to believing in the real shit again so we can start putting together those types of shows and everybody can have some fun.
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