By Peter Schrager
Special to Page 3
Back in May 2003, Boston hip-hop artist Akrobatik was casually hanging out backstage, waiting to perform at the release party for his album, "Balance," when his manager called him to the stage. A special guest was waiting when he arrived.
"I couldn't believe my eyes. Bob Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, was in the building, grooving to my music. I had to give him some love," recalled Akro.
As it turns out, Kraft had shown up at the nightclub that evening to do the same for Akro.
A day earlier, Kraft had read about the local artist in The Boston Globe. The article was accompanied by a photo of Akro wearing a replica Patriots jersey. The shrewd owner decided the rapper/die-hard Patriots fan needed something a little more authentic, so he presented Akro with a No. 32 Patriots jersey with "Akrobatik" stitched on the back.
The following day, The Boston Globe ran a story about the exchange with the headline "The Newest Member of the Team."
Since their meeting, Akrobatik has joined fellow Boston natives Mr. Lif and Fakts One to form another team, a trio of Brady-Dillon-Branch proportions that calls itself The Perceptionists. Together, the musicians' passion for the Patriots runs deep -- so deep, in fact, that the group penned a bonus track that tributes the reigning Super Bowl champs on their upcoming album, "Black Dialogue" (due out in January 2005).
The single is appropriately named "The Razor" ( Click here to listen) after New England's Gillette Stadium.
Inspired in part by playing "Madden 2004" on the group's tour bus, the group wrote the song quickly. Akrobatik explains, "The song was something we had wanted to do for a while. We had a lot to discuss -- the tuck rule, Tom Brady, Bill Parcells -- a lot of things burning inside of us. It took us about ten minutes to write."
The single is scheduled to be released on a mix-tape later this week, but "The Razor" has already hit airwaves in Boston.
The Patriots flagship radio network WBCN is already using the song as the backdrop to their pregame and postgame shows. Boston's premier commercial-free radio station WERS plays the "The Razor" on a regular basis. And an "unofficial" video of the song spliced over Patriots highlights is floating around the Internet as well.
With the chant "Ain't nobody seein' the Pats and that's that!" serving as a chorus, "The Razor" seems like a natural choice for Gillette Stadium's 2004-05 anthem.
In the song, the rappers . . .
"Storm to the finish like Willie McGinest . . ."
"All you Raiders fans who thought the tuck rule was shady? Two rings in three years. We no fluke.
"Peyton, so frustratin', throw another pick to get a standing ovation".
With a pounding bass beat bumping in the background, "The Razor" is the perfect psych-up music for the Patriot faithful primed to see their team win a third Super Bowl in four years. (Click here for "The Razor" song lyrics.)
Akrobatik daydreams about the long-term possibilities of the hit song: "Ideally, I'd like to be in Jacksonville come January, with the Patriots playing in the Super Bowl, and the song blaring during their player introductions."
As for the Super Bowl Halftime Show, he adds, "We'd love to perform it during halftime. Of course, we'd make sure there were absolutely no 'wardrobe malfunctions.' Trust me -- no one wants to see that."
Akrobatik's love for sports runs deeper than a friendship with Bob Kraft. His knowledge is real and his rhymes are tight. In his 2000 single "Sport Center," Akro rhymes the word "concoction" with "John Stockton" and goes as far as referring to a seldom-used ex-New York Giant fullback, Jarrod Bunch.
When asked about this year's Patriot squad, the rapper begins a 20-minute discussion on Corey Dillon's NFL resume.
Mr. Lif is a real deal sports nut as well. He took the trip to Houston for Super Bowl XXXVIII last year, and is known to be a sports video game aficionado. So much so, his song, "Pull Out Your Cut," is a featured track on "ESPN NFL 2K5." And the question he currently poses on his web site's message board has nothing to do with music, but rather asks, "Which is a better video game, 'Madden 2005' or 'ESPN NFL 2K5'?"
Fakts One is a noted Patriots fan, too. The trio's devotion to the Patriots is made clear through the intensity of "The Razor".
No Patriot player has publicly commented on the song yet. However, Akrobatik assures Page 3 that head coach Bill Belichick heard "The Razor" and is a "big fan."
Who are we to doubt him? Stranger things have happened (uh, like Bob Kraft showing up at an underground hip-hop show).
Regardless of whether the hard-nosed coach has the song on his iPod or not, one thing is certain -- the Patriots have a new anthem for the new season and it's "razor" sharp.
Editor's Note: Akrobatik hosts his own Madden football league and can be reached at http://www.akrobatik.com.
One of ESPN's final 100 "Dream Job" contestants, Peter Schrager recently graduated from Emory University and covers popular culture for Page 3. He can be reached at PeterSchrager@yahoo.com