About The Perceptionists
Hip-hop stardate: 2005. It’s a new year, and there is still too much of the same old, same old floating into the world. It’s time for something better, something that rap fans deserve and something that they’ve been waiting for: The Perceptionists – Mr. Lif. Akrobatik. DJ Fakts One. Their debut as a trio, Black Dialogue, is a naturally-flowing, mind-engaging genius album, the culmination of a hell of a lot of work apart, but just as much together. In short, it’s the best example of Wonder Triplets power activating that you’ll hear this year.
This Boston-based power trio seems to have been summoned straight out of the starved subconscious of the true-school hip-hop loving world. Like saying “Candyman” five times, but here the results are rap perfection instead of gory demise. After swirling around on wax as far back as 1997 (Fakts did the cuts on Lif’s debut single, “Electro”) and 1998 (Lif lent vocals to a dope-ass Akrobatik b-side, “Fat Shit”), the inevitable has now come to pass.
Far from some kind of wack publicity stunt to boost careers, the coming together of these three long-time friends and brawny musical minds on the rise was actually more anticlimactic, because it was so natural and obvious. It wasn’t thought up in a boardroom, but more likely in Akrobatik’s Jamaica Plain living room. If you doubt how long the idea has been floating around, check the credits on Lif’s Fakts One-produced 2000 song “Avengers”: “Akrobatik and Mr. Lif combine to form The Perceptionists.” Nuff said.
All three members have had exemplary solo careers thus far, with no signs of stopping: acclaimed releases like Lif’s I, Phantom and Emergency Rations (both on Definitive Jux); Akrobatik’s stellar 2003 full-length debut Balance (on Coup D’Etat); and Fakts, currently working on his solo debut, is featured on all aforementioned releases, plus his own party-moving singles, like “The Show Starter” (Coup D’Etat).
The most important thing about the Perceptionists is: this isn’t about individual members. This is a GROUP. They have been to different continents together, blown up each other’s cell phones to get to airports on time, shared bad fast food meals at truck stops. Truth be told: road warriors have bonds that are stronger than studio associates will ever know about. For these three brothers from other mothers, who have always really been making this record, it was the right time to summon the good demons of rap and forge the magic onto wax.
Musically, the first thing that strikes you after a full listen to the album’s sequence is how natural it feels. Whether they’re spitting righteous venom about the evil misdeeds of hopefully one-term president George W. Bush or talking about kicking back on their porch shooting the shit about life, love and loss, “Black Dialogue” is exactly how these guys are. F the pretense, F the posing, this is true reality rap. An important thing to point out: although Fakts is the DJ and musical lynchpin of the group, he’s not the only producer. Serious heat was also provided by Lif associate from the way-back, El-P (“People For Prez,” “Blo” and “Frame Rupture”); Cyrus, an unknown (not for long) but amazingly-talented Brandeis University undergrad (“Memorial Day,” “What Have We Got To Lose”); and Florida-based up-and-comer Willie Evans Jr. (“Love Letters,” “Black Dialogue,” “Breathe In The Sun” and “The Razor”). It’s Darwin on the datablend.
With their “Black Dialogue,” Lif, Ak and Fakts are creating music that doesn’t talk to one set of people, and doesn’t ever come at you the same way twice. Sometimes angry, sometimes pensive, sometimes hilarious, it’s a set of snapshots that complete an important musical family album. And whether they’re all starting new again or just continuing a groove that started almost a decade ago, three is still the magic number. And the band of brothers called The Perceptionists are the ones to make that number work for 2005 and beyond.