The Perceptionists: Tiny Desk Concert Watch hip-hop veterans Mr. Lif and Akrobatik team up behind the Tiny Desk.

The Perceptionists: Tiny Desk Concert

Mr. Lif and Akrobatik are two emcees whose names rock bells among true hip-hop heads. The duo of Boston natives first teamed up as The Perceptionists in the early aughts to release Black Dialogue on El-P's Def Jux label in 2005. Their side project went into indefinite hiatus soon afterward, but now Lif and Akrobatik are reunited on their new LP, Resolution. While Lif has been touring and writing with downtempo icons Thievery Corporation for the greater part of the last seven years, Akrobatik's last solo album (2014's Built To Last) rightfully received a warm reception from critics and connoisseurs.

Their conscious ethos is perfectly encapsulated by Ak's lyrical run on "A Different Light," where he raps: "But I'm above all of the melodrama / When they go low / We go high / Michelle Obama." The song tells the story of Ak's near-death experience with a pernicious aortic dissection, as well as the betrayal of a close friend during his convalescence. Akrobatik took the high road, and that ironclad stoicism lights the path for this crew. On the same track, Lif laments love lost while rhyming his way to healing catharsis following an unmanageable heartbreak.

With sharp, heartfelt lyricism, The Perceptionists critique the current political climate on "Out Of Control" and rhyme about the symbiotic human relationship with technology on "Lemme Find Out." In a world that often appears to be spiraling out of control, their Tiny Desk set provides a much-needed breather.

Set List

  • "Out of Control"
  • "Lemme Find Out"
  • "A Different Light"
  • "Early Morning"


Tommy Benedetti (drums); Van Gordon Martin (guitar); Lean Thomas (keyboard); Ashish Vyas (bass); Jeffery Haynes (vocals); Jared Bridgeman (vocals)


Producers: Abby O'Neill , Bronson Arcuri; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Bronson Arcuri, Morgan Noelle Smith, CJ Riculan, Maia Stern; Production Assistant: Aleli May Vuelta; Photo: Christina Ascani/NPR.

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