Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Akrobatik delivers the "Absolute Value" of Hip Hop
Last month Akrobatik came to town as one third of the Perceptionists. While Mr. Lif is the most well known member of the crew Akrobatik has been an underground mainstay dating back to 1998 when he started dropping classic 12’s and repping Boston to the fullest.
While always an amazing emcee his skill’s were, and still are, at a level many can’t mess with. This can prove to be a double edge sword as it provided Ak with much critical acclaim but little support from more than the hardest of heads. With the release of his sophomore album Absolute Value, Akrobatik has to be aiming for that mass appeal.
Teaming with Fat Beats, he went for broke and pulled out all the stops. Absolute Value is filled with great guest spots and production from a who’s who in the Hip Hop underground. But the guests don’t take anything away from what it is Akro is trying to provide to the people and that is some classic Hip Hop for your listening pleasure.
His greatest gift is his voice. It’s deep but not gruff; he can rock a hard core banger like the opener “A to the K” with B-Real on the hook (watch out for a remix with a full verse from the Cypress Hill front man!) and then flip it up over the always dusty drums of Brooklyn’s own Da Beatminerz on “Soul Glo.” Along with some nice piano keys and some chopped up horn stabs it’s good to hear Evil Dee and Mr. Walt still rocking and listening to Akrobatik rhyme smoothly over their beat sounds perfect!
And this is pretty much the formula for the entire album, dope beats and dope rhymes. Illmind shows up and continues to demonstrate how he intends to wreck the game delivering four beats each with a different vibe but still maintaining a cohesive mood for Akrobatik to set for his album. From “Rain” with its opening haunting vocal sample and transition into a powerful anthem about pushing forward to the Bumpy Knuckles assisted banger “If We Can’t Build” the rapport between Ak and Illmind will remind you of another duo whose emcee emerged out of the Boston scene.
But while an Illmind and Ak album would be amazing, this right here is about Akrobatik and how fresh he keeps it. Pulling J Dilla out of the grave with the monster “Put Ya Stamp On It” featuring an incredibly fresh and revitalized sounding Talib Kweli, it’s obvious that Akrobatik wanted that raw and dusty sound to run throughout his album.
But even while getting his grimey Hip Hop swagger on Akrobatik has to take time out and sit back to kick some facts to the ladies, speaking to what sounds like that special one on “Back Home To You” over a beautiful arrangement of strings and keys courtesy of Therapy. This is what Hip Hop is all about, that raw and real emotion. Whether it’s in a song addressing the ills of Hip Hop or the hardships of touring, staying away from the fam for much to long Akrobatik addresses it all and he does it with a style and grace that few emcees could hope to touch.
Originally published here Febuary 19th, 2008