Absolute Value is a re-introduction to A to the motherfucking K homeboy! It has all the elements of hip-hop and plays like a demo. Akrobatik jumps form conscious rap over rugged tracks to a soulful rapper to that ignorant shit you like. Absolute Value is the absolute value of hip hop where even a negative component measures up quite well.
Akrobatik starts off with “A to the K”, a west coast bounce featuring B Real of Cypress Hill. If you close your eyes you can imagine Ak rocking a crowd with their hands up like B Rabbit in The Shelter. It’s the perfect start to the roller coaster of Ak’s montage to hip-hop. He flutters into “Soul Glo” with his copy-cat NYC flow that he hasn’t quite mastered. Despite its short comings “Soul Glo” does show off AK’s wittiness with lines like “…get used B boy’s/ while my soul glow like Bruce LeRoy/(who’s the master) Sho ‘Nuf the flow is so ruff kick back watch a fly ass show and go puff”.”Put Ya Stamp On It” showcases AK’s networking ability and his solitude in underground hip-hop; Talib Kweli guest appears on a J. Dilla produced track.
Through the grit and substance of the “Put Ya Stamp On It” this is yet the 3rd track in a row A to the K delivers with a sub-par chorus. With all his wit and ability you just can’t fathom how bad these chorus’ are. You think he’d turn the ship around, find the ruder to steer or even notice the iceberg he’s hitting but he doesn’t. The only decent break he has is on “Kindred”, that’s a Chuck D feature, and Chuck is a monologuing. His poor choice of breaks is clearly the missing sword in Ak’s Voltron equation.
Slick Rick would be impressed with Akrobatik’s ability to visualize through words in “Kindred”. Ak lets your ears view the emotional strain of a slave and post Katrina refugee.
“It took me six years to build up enough courage to run / and only six hours to be facing the barrel of a gun/…a light flashes/ leather from the whip lashes…brown skin is now purple…when the pain that I’ll endure is the pain I’ll have to work through/…The stings from the welts in my back/ make me want to attack and be a martyr for black/ but then the whip cracks and brings me back to reality”
This is the apex of the whole album. The break is the best, Ak rhymes over the production almost flawlessly while the lyrics are powerful.
Absolute Value plays much like a demo. Throughout the album he attempts different rhyme styles deliveries and even sounds. Akrobatik never commits to a particular genre of hip hop. While that gives him an ability to cater to all types of fans it also negates him his own niche. AK never evokes the feeling that he is his own artist but merely a compilation of artists he admired coming up on the mean streets of Boston. Nevertheless Akrobatik shows how he can turn hip hop’s negative aspects into a positive component in-between the lines of his notepad.
Legally download “Kindred” stream “Black Hell Breaks Loose” and “Front Steps pt. II”