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

Tiny Desk

The Perceptionists

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"

Musicians

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

Credits

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.

For more Tiny Desk concerts, subscribe to our podcast.

[+] read more[-] less

More From Tiny Desk

Trouble Funk performs a Tiny Desk concert on April 9, 2018. Eslah Attar/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Eslah Attar/NPR

Trouble Funk

We squeezed 12 go-go musicians behind the Tiny Desk. Watch what ensued.

Tyler Childers performs a Tiny Desk Concert on March 8, 2018 (Eslah Attar/NPR). Eslah Attar/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Eslah Attar/NPR

Tyler Childers

Tyler Childers writes songs about hard lives and hard love with direct heart and a soulful Kentucky drawl.

The Nate Smith Band performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Sept. 14, 2017. (Christina Ascani/NPR) Christina Ascani/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Christina Ascani/NPR

Review

Tiny Desk

Nate Smith + KINFOLK

The drums take center stage at this Tiny Desk. Watch veteran jazz percussionist Nate Smith dazzle the NPR audience in a transfixing performance.

Jason Isbell performs a Tiny Desk Concert on June 30, 2017. (Claire Harbage/NPR) Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Jason Isbell

The Alabama singer-songwriter and his band perform three songs from The Nashville Sound, but their set includes a few surprises, too.

ALA.NI performs a Tiny Desk Concert on June 20, 2017. (Photo: Liam James Doyle/NPR) Liam James Doyle/NPR/NRR hide caption

toggle caption Liam James Doyle/NPR/NRR

ALA.NI

ALA.NI captures and conveys a reverent love of early-20th-century music, while injecting those sounds with charisma and charm well suited for any era.

Maggie Rogers performs a Tiny Desk concert at NPR headquarters. Liam James Doyle/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Liam James Doyle/NPR

Maggie Rogers

The rising pop star performs three of her best-known songs, including a sweet solo take on her career-making "Alaska."

Aldous Harding performs a Tiny Desk Concert on June 6, 2017. (Claire Harbage/NPR) Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Aldous Harding

Intensity in songs often expresses itself as volume – a loud guitar, a scream, a piercing synth line. But in the case of Aldous Harding it's in the spaces, the pauses, and her unique delivery.

James Mercer of The Shins performs a Tiny Desk Concert on June 19, 2017. (Liam James Doyle/NPR) Liam James Doyle/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Liam James Doyle/NPR

The Shins

James Mercer, the emotional and creative heart of The Shins, gives a moving performance at the Tiny Desk, with two new songs and a classic from the band's 2003 album Chutes Too Narrow.

Albin Lee Meldau performs a Tiny Desk Concert on June 12, 2017. (Claire Harbage/NPR) Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Albin Lee Meldau

Albin Lee Meldau possesses a thunderous, deeply affecting voice, which he uses to tell some utterly dark, but demonstrably cathartic, tales.

Rare Essence performs a Tiny Desk Concert on June 9, 2017. (Liam James Doyle/NPR) Liam James Doyle/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Liam James Doyle/NPR

Rare Essence

Rare Essence has been bringing go-go to the world since 1976 — the group brought that pedigree, and the genre's massive meld of funk, rhythm and blues and soul, to this raucous hometown Tiny Desk.

Back To Top