Akrobatik delivers the "Absolute Value" of Hip Hop (4.5 Star
Zeb91 | Seattle, WA | 02/19/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"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."
"I don't drive/But always hear, 'Ak, you're a legend' [Acura
E.J. Rupert | Milwaukee, WI | 08/11/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Akrobatik - Absolute Value (Fat Beats, 2008)
It makes me mad every time someone says that hip-hop ain't what it used to be and that it's too wack now. What, there weren't any wack rappers back in 1988 or 1994? Anyway, you just have to know where to look and similar to the good ol' days when good rappers were on indie labels like Sleeping Bag and Nervous, look to indie labels of today for that real stuff. Fat Beats is one of them and it's where Boston rapper Akrobatik releases his second album (first for them), Absolute Value.
If you checked out his past work by himself or with his Perceptionists crew, you know that he is pretty gifted on the mic. And if that weren't enough, the list of producers on this album is like a backpacker's wet dream (J-Zone, J Dilla, Da Beatminerz, Illmind, 9th Wonder and of course, Fakts One of the Perceptionists). Song after song, Ak brings the pain, so much that he outshines most of the guest stars (well, it is his album, after all). On "Be Prepared", for example, it's hard to tell if Ak or Little Brother's Phonte has the best verse. Other songs that should gain acclaim are "Front Steps Pt. II", "Put Ya Stamp On It" with Talib Kweli and the Perceptionists reunion, "Beast Mode".
Even though "If We Can't Build" with Bumpy Knuckles sounds like a last-minute track, you can't front on Akrobatik. He'll always give you dope rhymes and you should appreciate the absolute value of them. -EJR"
Akrobatik "Absolute Value"- 4.75 Stars
Shaun Borowski | Buffalo, NY | 05/12/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Akrobatik's "Absolute Value" is a top runner from 2008. This album plays front to back with no skip material in between. Lyrically, Akrobatik is on top of his game. I've played this album many times and I'm still just now catching what he's getting at in his verses. The production is graet throughout this album, and it should be with the likes of Illmind, 9th Wonder, J Dilla (R.I.P., J-Zone, Da Beatminerz, and a few others. Guest appearances are in abundance; normally this would be a derogatory thing, but when you have B. Real (of Cypress Hill), Talib Kweli, Chuck D, and Little Brother, it couldn't possibly go wrong, right? Right Indeed. This album is a must have, grab it as soon as you can.
"I've been a fan of the Boston-bred Akrobatik since the day I heard him collaborate with Mr. Lif & Fakts-One on The Perceptionists' "Black Dialogue" album. The record is flawless in many ways and remains classic material in my book until this very day. It's been years since that gem dropped, and I've still been heavily sleeping on Akrobatik's solo career. After a couple listens to "Absolute Value", I will most definitely be checking out all his material from now on. Akrobatik's intense, battle-oriented mic style & sociopolitical messages are very reminiscent of KRS-One & Chuck D. And after 10+ years in the game, you can find Akrobatik pumping out some of his most devastating material to date.
"Absolute Value" is real representing real. Ak couldn't have pulled together a better set of producers and guest emcees to help make this album one of the best records of 2008. The biggest name's here are Talib Kweli, who lends an excellent verse on the J Dilla produced "Put Ya Stomp On It", and the excellent reunion of Little Brother (Big Pooh, Phonte & 9th Wonder) on "Be Prepared". Fakts-One & Mr. Lif show up on "Beast Mode" for an ill Perceptionists reunion. Other minor appearances are made by Chuck D & B Real (of Cypress Hill). Along with 9th & Dilla; Illmind, Da Beatminerz, J-Zone, Fakts One, & Therapy lend some of their dopest beats to date.
After about 10 listens, I have yet to reach for the skip button; making for a seamlessly flawless album. Akrobatik balances his messages and battle rhymes brilliantly which never lulls, making for a very strong full listen. For those of you still shouting that hip-hop is dead, be sure to check out Beantown's finest."