On July 22, Boston producer/DJ Fakts One will release his debut album, Long Range, through Green Streets Entertainment/Nature Sounds. Guests on the album include Little Brother, Mr. Lif, Akrobatik, Army of the Pharoahs, Boot Camp Clik, Planet Asia and Souls of Mischief.
“DJ Fakts One was a key figure in the Boston Hip-Hop scene for many years,” reads a press release for the album:
He got his start djing parties and breaking local acts on WERS radio in the late ’90’s, through the popular “89.9 at Night” show. He dropped one of his first mix tapes (yes, on cassette) on the famed Brick Records titled “Heavy Hitters” and instantly started making noise throughout the state. Lending production to many releases by Mr. Lif and Akrobatik, it was inevitable that these three long-time friends would form a trio that was 100% pure hip-hop called The Perceptionists.
Their album “Black Dialogue” was released in 2005 on Definitive Jux to critical claim. With great sales, and a tour that was ready to kick off, this powerhouse of a rap group was about to start taking things over! At the same time Fakts was waiting on his solo record debut to be released, but the label continued to stall, delay and eventually folded into the industry abyss. Then, in a sudden turn of events, Fakts up and left his partners “Lif and Ak” stranded with no DJ at the start of their tour and vanished off the hip-hop map altogether.
First, some interesting details…Aesop Rock’s appearance on “89.9 at Night” back in the day was included on his legendary (legendary as in it is often-bootlegged, and original copies sell for hundreds of dollars) self-released CD Music for Earthworms. Also, according to rumors, Fakts One’s disenchantment with the music industry actually began during the making of the Perceptionists’ debut album, a long-planned project between the three Boston friends. If you believe those rumors, it partly explains why so few of his beats appeared on Black Dialogue.
In an interview with Max Herman for Plug One, Akrobatik had this to say about Fakts One:
“Well Fakts One, he is retired. It’s been a little while since we’ve really done any work together, so I consider Fakts more of a friend. With Lif — Lif’s like my best friend. I’ve known Lif since 1995 and it’s just really second nature. He and I have chemistry. It’s not just on record. If I called him right now we’d be laughing within the first ten seconds no matter what it was about. That’s just the relationship that we have and it translates onto our records and it translates onto the stage definitely.
People retire from the music business for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes, artists leave because interest in their art wanes and, instead of beating a dead horse, so to speak, they decide to do something else. Then there are those who grow so frustrated with the machinations of the business that they decide to refocus their energy into more positive and profitable work.
Underground hip-hop is truly a labor of love. Unfortunately, in an era of rampant downloading that seems to affect hip-hop more than any other genre, it often seems like these artists’ labors are taken for granted by their fans. I don’t think people understand how many artists work shitty part-time jobs so they can go on tour at a moment’s notice; and set aside years’ worth of paychecks in order to produce and manufacture an album. Not everyone is fortunate enough to become a successful full-time musician, but they love the art form enough to do what they can.
“Hopefully when Fakts hears all his years of hard work finally coming to light,” reads the press release, “he can sit back (wherever he is), smile and realize it was well worth the journey.”