The second collaborative LP by Perceptionist emcees Mr. Lif and Akrobatik comes at a darker or as dark a time as their first (Black Dialogue) did back in 2005, when fresh wounds from 9/11 and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were still bleeding heavily with just about no signs of abating. Along with DJ Fakts One and El-P playing major producer roles on their Definitive Jux debut, Lif and Ak delivered a fine combination of conscious cool hip-hop to enlighten and refresh the people. Twelve years later, Mr. Lif and Akrobatik return together again to release their sophomore in a like ravaged era of war, confusion and economic malaise, this time without Fakts One or Def Jux but with a new assortment of beat makers for the one and only Mello Music Group. It’s safe to say that what they’ve turned out, the Resolution LP, is a clear confident statement set to thoroughly enjoyable music.
Our heroes of rhyme pull the pants down on the one percent, corporations, the government in collusion with both and just the greedy, brutal and violent, problematic police included, in ghetto settings especially, where they seem to do most of their dirt. Lif and Akrobatik have energy and conviction, with many relatable messages one after the other, meaning they know what they’re saying to be true. In “Lemme Find Out,” the two raise suspicions of technology and the huge part it plays in everyone’s life, and “When Push Comes To Shove” makes time for the necessary elements of romance.
With no truly dull moments, Resolution does reveal spots not as attention-grabbing as others. The proceeding trio of tracks, “Let’s Battle,” “Free At Last” and “Dirty Drumz,” while good for advancing the spirit of competition, self-determination and real hip-hop, feels more like a connector of the beginning and end than a bridge or bond with material equally awesome as what sandwiches it. The dynamic duo nevertheless manage to make their finale as splendid as anything preceding it. Lif and Ak rap on something everybody’s been guilty of at one time or another – control obsession – in “Grab Hold” sharing that there’s no end or win when you’re trying to grab hold of what you can’t control.
Supported by a calming backdrop of smooth jazz and soul, the last two songs, “A Different Light” and “Resolution,” are beautiful commitments of the mind about surviving hard times in the first and pure thoughts on everything from optimism, wisdom and positivity to compassion, perseverance and care in the second. Instead of junk food rap, try Resolution, which offers healthy artistic beat-creations from the likes of Willie Evans Jr., Synesthetic Nation and Paten Locke and which doesn’t stoop to name-calling, foul play or debauchery thanks to Mr. Lif and Akrobatik’s dedication to spreading the good word and nothing but. The New Year’s celebrations of 2017 are long past but it’s never too late to make a resolution, or a revolution for that matter. (4 out of 5 stars)