HipHopDX has spawned a new weekly series, celebrating the most under-covered aspect of Hip Hop these days: lyrics. Every Friday, we will commend an emcee/rapper for dense, thoughtful, informative or simply mind-blowing verses on newly-released songs, often with exclusive interviews.
Our first DXtraordinary Lyrics spotlight goes to Boston's Akrobatik. The industry veteran, radio host and Perceptionists member recently released Absolute Value [click here for review] on Fat Beats Records. On the album's song, "Front Steps Pt. 2 (Tough Love)," the emcee provides a sequel to a 2003 album cut, with a strong second verse on racial dynamics from his point-of-view.
"My high school had no black teachers,
And very few students, who had similar features,
That's where I caught my very first glimpse of how they do us,
The privileged, the learned, and how to be entrepreneurs,
While we die in the sewers,
And the gutters,
Murking each other with box-cutters,
From one man's sins, the whole block suffers,
Streets are flooded with the tears from distraught mothers,
We are trained to believe we are not brothers,
You wouldn't say shit to Ted Danson,
But if a brother's black, we act like Charles Manson,
What the fuck happened to advancin'?
See, heads is too concerned with romancin' the stone,
Cook it up and serve it then your hood rep's blown,
But when po' enters the zone, then handcuffs are shown,
And your shorty's left alone with no pops,
And mama is tappin' and givin' you no props,
And that bus is takin' you up north with no stops,
And you getting hosed down and laughed at by cops,
And you sayin' that's the way you want to live, dude?
Never getting pussy and you eat what they give you,
This ain't no war on drugs, it's a war on thugs,
They supply the guns, we supply the bodies with slugs,
Most of these crack-dealer rappers is herbs,
See, they 35, they married, and livin' in the 'burbs.
And they makin' money off of your lifestyle,
And you idolize them 'cause they move units and that's wild,
These labels ain't fuckin' with you if you ain't coachable,
These labels ain't fuckin' with you if you ain't approachable,
You see, there's more to life than rap and crack sales,
But that info ain't made readily available to black males,
They shut down the conscious rosters,
But talk about being a pimp, you'll get an Oscar,
I'm sick of seeing y'all locked up and killed,
And if the OG's don't tell you, tell me, who the fuck will?" - Akrobatik, "Front Steps, Pt. 2 (Tough Love)"
"This is just another example of me sitting on my front steps and writing about what I see," Akrobatik told HipHopDX. "It's five years [after the first version], so I figured connecting the songs would be a good idea because it would give you a good perspective of what life for me was like in '03, and then what it's like for me now in '08."
"One of the things that's gonna inspire somebody in life more than anything, is having somebody to look up that's gonna make them feel like that person is just like them, and that they have a chance of accomplishing those things," said Ak about the theme of the song. "When I was coming up, even though my dad wasn't around or whatever, I still had role models that I looked up to, I just had to find them. They weren't at my school, but KRS-ONE was around and Chuck D was around. To me, people like that laid a groundwork for me."
Although not specifically mentioned in the song, the emcee expounded upon the race relations within his home city, through the context of the track. "All of the black people in Boston live in one area. It's a tough situation because it's a city dominated by educational and medical institutions. Because of that, you have thousands of young people coming in every year trying to further their education. They take up all the housing in the city. Like Northeastern University and [Boston University], they have on-campus housing, but it inevitably spills over into the neighborhoods and lower income families get pushed out. It's hard, if you're black, to live in the city of Boston." The emcee added, "I don't know if there is hope. We have a black governor, but I don't really think that matters until we have prominent black business in our city, it's gonna be like this."
Presently, Akrobatik is the Myspace featured Hip Hop artist of the week [click here], and he is setting up for a spring tour. Absolute Value is in stores now. The emcee is also working closely with The Boston Celtics, doing promotional music for them, as well as several national sportscasts.