Black Dialogue

production: Fakts One, El-P, Cyrus, Willie Evans Jr., Camu Tao.

guests: Guru, Camu Tao, Humpty Hump aka Shock G, Phonte of Little Brother.
year of release: 2005
Let's Move
People 4 Prez
Memorial Day
Love Letters
Black Dialogue
Frame Rupture
What Have We Got To Lose?!?
Party Hard feat. Guru, Camutao
Career Finders feat. Humpty Hump
5 O'Clock feat. Phonte
Breathe In The Sun
Every now and then a couple of more or less established mc's who usually run solo, decide to join forces and make an album. This is the result of one such collective effort. If you are even slightly familiar with the Def Jux camp, you will know who Mr Lif is. And if you are familiar with Lif's work, from their collabos you will know who Akrobatik is. And again, if you are familiar with the works of these two guys, you will have heard the name Fakts One before, as he has done production and cuts on a good portion of Ak and Lif's previous work.
As soon as we press play, we are met with the sound of the Fakts One produced "Let's Move". The beat is not bad with an 'El-P meets the Neptunes' kinda flavor. Ak and Lif use it to introduce themselves and the group, with a couple of verses of braggadocio-type rhymes. This track isn't amazing in any way and doesn't serve up any food for thought, but manages to make us do just what the title suggests: move.
Moving on to the El-P produced track "Blo", we get something very good. The beat is hard and rather slow, and the rhymes are fast, and has Ak go: "yeah, I know we're known for bringing facts to the mass/ me and Mr Lif, back to back for the past decade/ now were moving on to the next phase/ new album, world tour, let's get paid". If their way of trying to get paid is doing tracks like this, they probably wont end up millionaires, but they will certainly keep their fans more than happy, because this track is seriously dope.
Then there is the anti-war anthem "Memorial Day" that sounds a little dated when the hook goes "Where are the weapons of mass-destruction?/ We've been looking for months and we ain't found nothing". But since this track is pretty good and was actually released several months ago, we ain't mad.
Later we get the hilarious "Career Finders". A fast and funky Fakts One production that has the mc's trying to find alternative jobs for all the wack emcees, drug dealers and pimps out there. As a special treat Humpty Hump sticks his nose in to drop a nice little verse. And having Shock G pop in for a guest-appearance on Def Jux albums is a habit that the people in charge shouldn't kick. Cause just like the one on the Murs album, this collabo works very well.
Actually there is a very diverse offering of styles on this album. Besides the songs already mentioned we get "Love Letters", a sweet and innocent little love song. We get "Party Hard" with Guru and Camu Tao - a track obviously aiming for the clubs while somehow missing the target slightly. We got "5 O'Clock" with Phonte singing the hook - a track celebrating the freedom and relaxation following the end of the work day. Another Fakts One production is "What Have We Got To Loose?!?", with some in-your-face drum-programming and more of the politically aware rhymes we have come to expect from these guys. There is "Frame Rupture" that despite its slightly monotonous El-P beat manages to pull through. There is the great "Black Dialog". There is nice bragging seasoned with political comments on the El-P produced "People 4 Prez". And finally there is "Breathe In The Sun", that again deals with the topic of love. But this time in a more sad and melancholic way, as it deals with the ending of relationships. And even though Akrobatik is talking about Boston and Lif is talking about an un-named woman in that song, the concept of the track stays perfectly clear.
So we get two emcees who sound as good as they ever did, true bangers, something for the club, sweet little love songs and the trademark political manifests, all rolled into one 12 track album spiced with Fakts One's cuts and scratches. And despite all this they manage to keep the result surprisingly cohesive. Furthermore, with the exception of the somewhat mediocre club track, the songs range from nice to very dope.
Another noteworthy thing about this album is that it brings back a touch of the 'no-nonsense' approach to make albums that got lost somewhere in the nineties. No intro, 12 tracks and no skits, interludes or pointless conversations. And that is a good thing. Cause most skit-filled 70+ minute albums will leave you with the feeling of having ate too much at a buffet. This album on the other hand is short and sweet. It gives you a little taste of everything on the menu and satisfies your appetite completely, without you ending up feeling stuffed and sleepy.
review: Jonezz
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