Record Label: Mello Music Group
Released on Mello Music Group, Resolution is one of those timeless records. The first full-length from Mr. Lif & Akrobatik (The Perceptionists) in a dozen years reflects the struggles and near-death sagas that struck Mr. Lif and Akrobatik. During that span, Lif miraculously survived his tour bus plummeting over a cliff and bursting into flames. Akrobatik weathered a sudden aortic rupture and emergency open-heart surgery. The impact of those experiences forced the former Def Jux duo to contemplate fate, luck, and their own place within a world spinning out of control.
But their ability to survive has allowed them to thrive. They’ve harnessed a radiant hard-won optimism that refuses to flinch from the evils of existence. From the album’s first track, “Early Mourning,” Akrobatik asserts that courage comes from within, but reflects on the millions of young black men sent to premature graves. He considers whether gang affiliation is inherent in their souls, or more likely, whether things would be different if these neighborhoods were well lit and effectively policed.
If turmoil and inequity currently wrack the globe at record levels, Lif’s verses seem more prophetic than ever. His verses offer searing indictments of corporate and political corruption: corporations oppressing local farms, governmental duplicity in dealing with big pharmaceutical companies, and the crooked brutality of cops who get away with shooting unarmed black men.
On “Hose Down,” the pair brilliantly intersperse news reports from the MLK-led Birmingham protests of 1963 with the internecine problems of the present—where a traffic stop can still lead to a funeral. It’s as poignant of a polemic as you’ll find, but blended with a danceable Caribbean lilt.
With the Perceptionists, the personal is political and vice-versa. Akrobatik rhymes about his “desire to breathe in the sun before my skin dries out” but still refuses to be “the coward in a pretend hide out.” On “Lemme Find Out,” they kick ingeniously sinister dystopian horror raps about our grotesque addiction to technology. There are love songs over beats that sound like they could’ve been on Madvillainy, stories of cypher demolitions of would-be challengers, and dirty ass rhymes over dirty ass drums—as The Perceptionists sagely insist, that’s all the world really wants.
It’s music from deep in the trenches, songs that confront the blitzkrieg of bad news but offer light at the end of the bombardment. If you listen closely, you can intuit a profound story of friendship and camaraderie between Lif and Akrobatik—lifelong friends trading bars with the chemistry of Tip and Phife, Andre and Big Boi, Erick and Parrish. They’re mortal men who made mistakes, gained experience, and obtained wisdom. This is Resolution.
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Joseph Abajian (DJ Jab) founded Fat Beats in 1994 with nothing more than a shoestring budget and an earnest obsession with the music, the culture, and the brotherhood of New York’s burgeoning rap scene. What began as a simple vinyl shop in Manhattan’s Lower East Side quickly became an integral hub for artists, both aspiring and established, to convene and collaborate on new projects. Joseph’s timing couldn’t have been more impeccable. When the 90’s cultural zeitgeist – and, in turn, the music industry establishment – chose hip-hop as its new arbiter of cool.
International tourists and touring artists alike flocked to Fat Beats for rare vinyl, kindred spirits, and exclusive in-store performances from Jay Z, Eminem, Gang Starr, Outkast, Slum Village, Mos Def, and more. One thing was clear: the Fat Beats phenomenon could no longer be contained in a single basement shop.
In the late nineties, Abajian proceeded to open new stores in Amsterdam, Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. He further expanded the company’s profile to include global distribution and record label branches. Distribution has since proven to be the company’s strongest and most enduring enterprise. Today Fat Beats Distribution stands poised as one of the country’s pre-eminent distributors of vinyl & specialty item records: a proud survivor in an industry now famous for its mortality rate. Despite market fluctuations, technology innovations, and stylistic revolutions, Fat Beats has remained steadfast in its commitment to the timeless vinyl format and to the loyal community who keeps it spinning.
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