Black Dialogue

Artist: The PerceptionistsTitle: Black DialogueRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Jesse Fairfax

Riding the fine line between making “backpacker” rap and accessible music is a struggle for some underground acts. You don’t want to run the risk of painting yourself into a corner for one audience, but your sound isn’t exactly radio friendly by today’s standards either. This is the point Mr. Lif and Akrobatik now find themselves, both having already catered to pretentious indie tastes on Def Jux and Coup d’Etat respectively, Lif with the subterranean heralded I, Phantom and Ak with the lesser heard Balance. Having shared a history and common respect for one another from similar circles in the Boston area, the 2 MCs along with their DJ Fakts One have formed The Perceptionists. Previously released, The Razor is both a cd of rare & unreleased gems and the name of their New England Patriots anthem which received coverage reaching as far as ESPN. The wheels have been set in motion for Black Dialogue, The Perceptionists’ first full length album.

The album opens with “Let’s Move”, a rousing electronic track with rolling drums. Immediately evident is their chemistry bouncing off of each other while introducing who they are. Def Jux chief El-P contributes production on “People For Prez”, an old school B-Boy flavored party anthem. “Memorial Day” takes our nation’s leader to task over a boom-bap sound accompanied by strings and a violin. Willie Evans Jr. is an up and coming producer to watch for with “Love Letters”, a sentimental head nodder showing appreciation through attempts at courtship, far from what would be expected from Akrobatik and Mr. Lif’s prior track records. Evans also provides the soundscape for the conscious title track which sounds reminiscent of DJ Premier. Proving their diversity “Party Hard” could be played in a club setting to get a night started, yet they wind up losing no authenticity with the effort. The lighthearted and clever “Career Finders” suggests alternatives for MCs who rhyme about tired topics. “5 O’clock” featuring a hook sung by Phonte of Little Brother is dedicated to the joys of leaving work for the day.

All in all Black Dialogue is a celebration of love, Hip-hop, respect, and most importantly morality. With diversified topics over strong production and insightful lyricism from Akrobatik and Mr. Lif along with DJ Fakts One on the wheels, The Perceptionists never fail to entertain and educate sometimes within the same breath. Let’s hope the masses get to listening.