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 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
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 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Coup D'Etat Entertainment

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
There's a fresh crop of MC's coming out of Boston these days. Well, there has really been talent emerging from this collegiate city of the northeast since the days of Ed O.G., at least. But with the likes of Mr. Lif, 7L and Esoteric and the focus of this review, Akrobatik, hip hop in the city of obnoxious basketball fans (hi Boston, love ya!) is coming into its own. Akrobatik spits rhymes like it's 1993 with beats and production to match, and trust me; this is a very, very good thing. The general tone of his debut LP can easily get lumped into the whole "conscious rap" tag, but don't let that fool you into thinking this is "Self Destruction" Part II. Akrobatik has enlisted the help of some top-notch producers and even tried his own hand on the boards to sublimely augment his smooth and easygoing flow.

His themes are often simple and straight to the point, but hip hop doesn't have to be abstract or depressing to elevate. The title track is one of the best, featuring a phased-funk beat courtesy of DJ Fakts One, with its sing-song chorus getting right to the heart of the matter. Edan supplies a dope fast breakbeat full of horns to the speed rapped "Hand That Rocks the Cradle" where Akrobatik lets you know that there is "no need to pull the gun out, cuz slugs ruin parties, I wanna grab the real steel and move everybody." A simple and perhaps overly innocent statement, but Akrobatik makes it work. He handles the production on "Wreck Dem" and Mr. Lif shows up for a verse in his trademark nasal drawl, greatly enhancing this track. Neo-soul style moments full of sentiment like "Remind My Soul" are balanced out by roughneck tracks like "Bone Crusher" with finds Akrobatik referencing Das EFX over a battle-rap style beat. Akrobatik supplies the requisite ode to women/sex song with "Woman II," produced by DJ Revolution and featuring a sample of Dres from Black Sheep, but this ground has been tread over repeatedly. His low moments are still high though, as on the easily passed over "Feedback" that is bogged down by Diamond's uncharacteristically boring production. Akrobatik jumps right in and amps things up lyrically here with metaphors like "thrown against the wall like Jason Priestly." I think that is the first time I have ever heard an MC reference a cast member of my favorite show, the classic Beverly Hills 90210.

Balance is really an album that needs to be heard and reminds me of the summertime music listening of years past. Don't get me wrong, there is plenty of good hip hop that is coming out these days that has traveled far from the golden years of the early 90's, but anyone who was a fan then will at some point find themselves in a conversation pining away for those times. Akrobatik manages to stay current and creative while bringing the spirit of the best of "back in the day" to 2003. It's a B-O-S-T-O-N thing!

Reviewed by Jonah Flicker
Jonah Flicker writes, lives, drinks, eats, and consumes music in New York, via Los Angeles. He once received a fortune in a fortune cookie that stated the following: "Soon, a visitor shall delight you." He's still waiting.

See other reviews by Jonah Flicker



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