Monday, April 6, 2009

Crate Digging: Absolute Value

by Akrobatik

I know this cd isn't that old, but I hadn't listened to it for a while, and thought I'd give it another play.

Akrobatik really sounds good on this disk. It's a very nicely balanced album, including crowd-pleasers and quieter, more introspective songs. I find that the middle of the album is the best, with songs like 'Rain', 'Be Prepared', and 'Black Hell Breaks Loose'.

'Kindred' is a nice track, comparing the experiences of slaves in the South to those of victims of Hurricane Katrina. I like the hook and the way he worked a parallel structure into the song, but I do find Chuck D.'s part more than a little preachy.

Speaking of preachy, 'Front Steps Pt. II' is Akro "kick[ing] the truth to the young black youth." It works really well to me, and contains messages that are antithetical to most commercial hip-hop today. Finally, 'Back Home to You' rounds out the album, featuring Akro's promise to his wife. This song is a nice contrast to the Atmosphere track of the same name; Akrobatik comes off sounding much less needy than Slug...

The production on this album is top notch. There are individual songs by Dilla, Hezekiah, J-Zone and 9th Wonder, but the bulk of the work is by Illmind and Therapy, who both come very correct. Even with so many producers, this is a very consistent album. Other guest appearances include Talib Kweli, Little Brother, Mr. Lif, and Willie Evans Jr.

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