featured interview

Akrobatik Ak: not the gun but the emcee Whether it's from his first single 'Ruff Enuff', his collabo with Mr Lif as The Perceptionists or the radio rap show he's presenting, you have heard of Akrobatik one way or the other. February 19 th marks the release of his sophomore solo release 'Absolute Value', bringing the fans what they were waiting for; real raps, heavy beats and an impressive guest list ranging from Chuck D to Talib Kweli and J Dilla.

Wassup Akrobatik, how excited are you about the new album?

That's an understatement. I've been waiting so long to get some music out there. I couldn't be more excited to be droppin' somethin' for the listeners!

Why has the album's release date been pushed back a few times?

Well, as you know, there are a lot of guests on there so that took a while to get everything together. Plus, I was just going through a really tough time in life, and music took a back seat for several months. But I'm back!

Among your guests are veterans like B Real and Chuck D as well as household names such as Talib Kweli and Little Brother...how difficult was it to get them to work with you?

Wasn't difficult at all. Real recognize real, as they say.

How was working with them?

It's an honour, honestly. I remember the first time I met Gang Starr and the feeling I got when both of those dudes told me they respect my work. It's always been important to me to have the respect of the cats I look up to in the game. This project got me to see that more than ever, and I am grateful.

The latest single of the album is called 'Put Your Stamp On It', how'd you get the luck to get a beat from Jay Dee?

My homeboy Carlos from Fat Beats hooked that up. I'm just honoured to have gotten the chance to rock over a Jay Dee beat on my album. It really put this project over the top for me.

There's also a beat from J-Zone, could you tell us some more about that collabo?

J-Zone's the man. I always been a fan. His shit is always raw, and bangin'. I hope to work with him more in the future.

How much will those features contribute to the album's success?

I'm sure people will pick up the record because one of their favourite legends or up-and-comers is on it. I'm fine with that. If it brings me new fans, great. And it's definitely a treat for the fans I already have. Besides, this particular group of artists have never all been heard in one place. I know I would want to have it.

So you wouldn't be annoyed if someone bought the album for its features instead of for you?

Nope, I'm fine with that. No one is gonna hear 'Absolute Value' and think that I didn't hold my own on the mic throughout the album. There are a lot of guests, but this is an Akrobatik record. Everyone's contributions to the record are different. I don't over-use anyone, so it doesn't sound like I get lost in my own record.

What's the absolute value of your music?

I think I have a good ear for what sounds dope. I know what beats I will sound good on, and I stay true to myself as an artist. I think the fans appreciate that and see the value in it, absolutely.

How long did it take for you to complete this record?

It took a while, but again, there was a hiatus part of the way through. But yeah, it took over a year and a half, but it was worth every second. I believe in timing being right, and this timing couldn't be better for me.

As for recordin, do you prefer workin with a group (The Perceptionists) or solo?

Technically, I guess I enjoy being able to do what I want and have full creative control. But hangin' out with my boys and recording is also a lot of fun. they are both great experiences.

What's the difference between Akrobatik in 1998 and Akrobatik in 2008?

I'm more mature, my hair is longer, I'm in better shape, I'm more business-minded, and I have more life experience. As an artist, I think I am more confident in my abilities and I have more to talk about. I'm also much looser; having a good time and making music that is fun is more of a priority to me. You only live once.

Now that the Internet has become bigger and with the rise of Myspace, do you still feel the same about 'Internet MC's' like you felt when you made the song, or has it become even worse than you thought/predicted back then?

I mean, like anything, there is good and bad. technology is great and it gives some great artists a chance to be heard. But unfortunately, it also waters down the genre and makes it so that anyone who can afoord a computer think they are an artist.

Would you ever put your album as a free download on the Internet or at a price to be chosen by the customer like Radiohead did with their latest album 'In Rainbows'?

Sure, sounds like a great idea... If you're already rich.

'Remind My Soul'; did you know the George Benson song before it was sampled on yours?

Nope!

It was voted as one of the best songs in hip-hop, do you think there's a track of yours that's better than 'Remind My Soul'?

I have tracks that I enjoy listening to more, but it's hard to deny the impact of that one track. I like more hardcore joints like 'Step It Up' or 'A to the K'. I like the ruff shit!

You have a label, PlayAktions Recordings, first of all why does Akrobatik start his own label?

I just wanted an outlet to put out side prjects, and to give some newer artists the opportunity I had when I got my first start.

Who are you gonna put out on the label?

I'm gonna put out some young talent sometime soon. I haven't signed anyone yet, so I won't name names.

Talkin about labels, how'd you get with Fat Beats?

I was doin' a show in New York and their A&R guy Carlos stepped to me and expressed interest. We stayed in touch and eventually decided this was the right deal for us all.

Some random q's:

What's the best album of Prince?

Sign O' the Times!!!

Which Ed OG album is the best?

Life of a Kid in the Ghetto!

Which Akrobatik album is the best?

Absolute Value!!!!

What's the first rap album you bought?

I don't remember that one.. Raising Hell by Run DMC?

What's the last rap album you bought?

Aw, you got me there... I don't buy albums very often because I work at a radio station haha. So, probably something old that I bought for the fifth time, like "Fear of a Black Planet" by P.E.

Please comment:

Willie Evans Jr

The original outstanding champion of strangeness. Funkiest brotha in the south!

Tzarizm

This is the go-to guy for that abrasive boom-bap real hip-hop shit. And dude is super nasty at NBA 2k8.. Madden? Not so much!

Detonator Records

Ancient history, but I wouldn't be here without it.

Boston Celtics

Championship #17 on the way, baby!!

Cheers

Cool bar, GREAT TV show!

After the album what's next for Akrobatik?

Gonna do a new Perceptionists album, keep touring the world, make another solo album, 'Lather, Rinse, Repeat'!

Shout-outs?

Peace to all my fans - thanks for waiting!! Shouts to Fat Beats and all of Boston!

Thanks a lot!

THANKS!

 

POSTED 02|18|2008
conducted by Cpf

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