“It’s been years since my records started to spin/I’m from the era where you had to work your hardest to win/a lot of records dropped you never heard the artists again/but in my heart is the desire to win, I’m on fire again”. No truer words have been spoken about the era that has nearly been forgotten. Between the golden era of hip-hop in the early nineties to when Kanye, Lupe, and Common helped resurrect conscious rap in the early 2000s, a lot of records dropped, but we never heard from the artists again. Thank goodness Akrobatik was not one of them.
Hailing from Boston Akrobatik has been in the game longer than most that came out of his era. We first heard Ak on the 1998 single “Ruff Enuff” and then he smashed college radio with “SayYesSayWord” in 2000. Since then he dropped the critically acclaimed Balance in 2003 along with The Perceptionists (Ak, Mr. Lif, and Fakts One) in 2005. Black Dialogue further solidified his position as one of the top emcees in or above the underground.
It’s now 2008, and his Fat Beats debut Absolute Value has hit shelves. If you are wondering whether the newest album can sift through walking it out and supermanning no need to worry, it does. The album starts with the slightly older 12” release “A to the K” with B-Real on the hook, over a nice piano chop by Illmind. “Soul Glo” is a new school Beatminerz track that every B-Boy and B-Girl could get down to. “Put a Stamp on It” pairs Ak with the late great J.Dilla and Talib Kweli. It’s songs like this are where Akrobatik shines letting listeners know he is making his mark in hip-hop history.
Ak has never been one to shy away from politics or worldly issues and he continues his outspoken opposition to the war in Iraq on “Rain” with lines like “I seen white and black ladies/with crack babies in fact maybe selling them to get that buzz back baby/boys in Iraq shady dealing got them there in the first place/they put us on the frontlines to lesson our birthrate/the children of the poor fight the wars and when that shit is over they’ll be the broke ones in the stores/even though we all different/the little issues in life are seeming much less significant/so when the rain comes down on you/my question is what you gon do/from where I stand you can fold your hand and let your world crumble/or fight back and keep it on the humble/I know my choice.”
Little Brother and 9th Wonder make an appearance on “Be Prepared” over 9ths signature drums and soulful sampling. J-Zone smashes the title track as Akrobatik kills it on the mic. New comer Therapy gives a very a Beatnuts sounding track on “Black Hell Breaks Loose” while Akrobatik continues his lyrical assault. One of the more poignant tracks on the album is the Chuck D assisted “Kindred”, where Chuck poetically breaks down the affects of slavery to black America in spoken word, while Akrobatik breaks it down in rhyme over a stripped down flute sample from Illmind. Other stand outs are the beat box inspired “AK B Nimble” and the very personal “Back Home to You”
With all this good there has to be some bad right? Not really, production, lyrics, and subject matter, Akrobatik is the whole package. Absolute Value is the type of album every underground emcee is trying to make. It’s very early, but we’re guessing you will see this album at the top of most album lists come year end. - Darin Gloe
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