On the Perceptionists’ second album, Boston emcees Mr. Lif and Akrobatik, backed by DJ Fakts One, run through verses riddled with biting political commentary and social discourse in a style not unlike EPMD’s. Black Dialogue, which also features production from El-P, Cyrus and Willie Evans Jr., has all the teeth mainstream hip-hop is missing.
On “Memorial Day,” Lif and Akro attack our president for being a liar (something the Democratic Party may want to take note of). “Memorial Day” is the group’s expected attack on the current presidential administration, with the group dropping such bombs like “Please, Mr. President, tell us something; we knew from the beginning your ass was bluffing.” The group’s bluntness is something to be cherished.
But there’s more than just commentary. “Love Letters” is an ode to their secret crushes, which revolves are more than just tits and ass. When Lif spits, “You sounded so articulate, I want some time to pick your brain about a whole bunch of shit,” it comes off as fragile and self-conscious, not something one would expect in a hip-hop song.
There was a day when hip-hop was based around the have-nots and societal ills. As the ’90s wore on, hip-hop moved from anthems of the slighted to the music of the masses. It is big business, and the industry reflects that. Unfortunately, Black Dialogue is not the kind of hip-hop that gets played on the radio, and that’s a shame. The rhymes are smart and, in a world that supposedly needs moral guidance, the positive message could not be any clearer.