Album Review: Underachievers – Cellar Door

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Brooklyn’s “Beast Coast” movement continues with The Underachievers’ latest release.

Artist: The Underachievers
Title: Cellar Door: Terminus Ut Exordium
Label: RPM MSC
Release Date: August 12

After two well-received mixtapes, “Indigoism” and “Lords Of Flatbush,” a feature on Talib Kweli’s Gravitas, and the recent release of their own solo projects Issa Gold and AK join forces on Cellar Door: Terminus Ut Exordium. According to Issa Gold’s Twitter, Terminus Ut Exordium means “the end of the beginning.’ As in, the duo has ended the beginning stage of their careers and have developed a new approach to music.

The Brooklyn Rap duo expertly match each other’s fast-paced flows which challenge the listener to keep up with their lyricism as they rap they “ain’t just rhyming n**ga, keep up.” As the accompanying artwork suggests, a trippy hallucinogenic vibe is present throughout the album’s production. The pair combine psychedelics with deep meaning and offer clear messages through their lyricism over complex beats. The group’s existential thoughts on spirituality, drug use, culture implore us to continue mind elevation and learn to make a difference.

The 12 tracks are each named with a single word from the English Language including “Incandescent,” “Ethereal,” and “Quiescent” asking participants to think about what we’re hearing and the meanings of words while enjoying the phonetic appeal. “Metropolis” is a prime example of The Underachiever’s mix of an intelligent clear message of “death to the radio” and questioning the current state of the rap game with an other worldly distortion on its hook “build a metropolis call it indigo providence.”

The track list was released through a poetic short story combining the titles posted on Issa’s Instagram. The quick-tongued rappers express a use of language and vocabulary beyond the capacity of most young twenty somethings. The impressive lyrics and aggressive wordplay may take a few listens to process but the technical skill welcomes multiple listens.

Although AK and Issa are often associated with many other young rap groups, the albums only guest feature is delivered by Portugual. The Man on “Amorphous.” The guest appearances aren’t really missed as there are few pauses in the duo’s breathless verses for us to expect another artist to step in and nod’s to their affiliates such as Flatbush Zombies and A$AP Mob are mixed in throughout. The album’s producers range from hip-hop staple Statik Selektah with a classic hip hop sound on “Radiance” to Canadian producer Ryan Hemsworth’s spooky, alluring “Incandescent” and New Zealand’s indie rock band The Ruby Suns sound on “Felicity.”

The Underachievers’ achieved a witty cohesive project for their first official album, and took another step forward on their journey to enlighten their fans. The “Beast Coast” movement of bringing 90s hip hop style to todays young rap fans is strong and getting stronger with releases such as Joey Badass’ 1999 and now The Underachievers’ Cellar Door.