Text by Joe K.
When it comes to Hip-Hop, FLOW is half the battle. You can spend 6 minutes rapping about doing the dishes, but, as Chris Rock so eloquently put it, “If the beat is right, she will dance all night”. Fortunately, there are those artists that attempt to offer lyrics of substance rather than a diatribe of deviant sexual acts.
With that, I present to you the psychedelic hip-hop of The Underachievers on their official debut album, “Cellar Door: Terminus Ut Exordium“.
While there’s plenty of the egotism that appears to be requisite in hip-hop (Chrysalis: “As I blow my smoke and continue my reign, Cause that royal blue blood in my veins, I’m a king”), duo AK and ISSA GOLD counterbalance the bravado with intelligent and meaningful lyrics such as,
“Elevate your mind n—- play your part, Don’t waste no time cultivated by dark”
(ironically followed up by the sage-like proclamation, “Now you all can eat dick but at least get a tip”). Additionally, the duo outlines their take on a model utopia in “Metropolis”, “Build a metropolis, call it Indigo Providence”.
The Underachievers spit out verses as if time is a precious commodity; there are no intros/outros or choruses to be found. Although some broader musical experimentation may have enhanced some tracks, the beats on this album are not pedestrian. The beats on “Incandescent” would fit right in on a John Carpenter film soundtrack whereas “Quiescent” and “Felicity” allow the listener to catch their breath while relaxing to denser, more melodic rhythms. On the other hand, “Amorphous”, which samples Portugal, The Man, delivers the most poppy sound on the album.
It’s apparent that someone broke out the SAT prep manual to name some of the tracks (e.g. “Sonorous”, “Chrysalis”), which is apropos, because it can feel like an exam when your trying to keep up with the break neck speed of their rhymes. However, once you buckle down and process the commentary, it’s clear that The Underachievers provide more than just flow.