The Underachievers Renaissance
Written by Jennifer Alfaro
That “New York gritty” duo, The Underachievers, came through with an impressive delivery in their recent project “Renaissance”. The underrated group continued to push their messages over overcoming self-doubt and striving for ultimate success, even with the lack of attention by main stream media. With their only feature being Mello, the group emphasizes their talented wordplay and how strong east coast influence has contributed to their distinct underground admiration.
“In The Zone”, its opening track, starts off with an excerpt from Marcus Garvey, a civil rights leader in the 1920s who strived for freedom and black nationalism. The clear concept of freedom in terms of the hip hop industry.
“Remember nights I used to wish to be up in the game
I’m built for this I feel the bluff flowing through every vein”
The song samples Brand Nubian’s “Maybe One Day” which features Common, a New York legend. The boom bap sound that The Underachievers uses has been established since their birth, sticking to the grassroots of the east coast culture.
“Saint Paul” featuring Mello speaks upon their underrated status as they strive to succeed. Although they are notably underestimated, they claim that others have been gaining popularity due to being imitated. Like Saint Paul, the group feels as though they are influencing and teaching those of their generation, in terms of hip hop.
“I’m delivering Sun on Earth
I push this thermostat to limits”
Prior to the album’s release, the group dropped 4 singles, Gotham Nights being my favorite. A classic New York beat with cord/key changes throughout the track, is carried by smooth bars. The Underachievers, along with Flatbush Zombies, Danny Brown, Chance the Rapper, Ab Soul and other artists have been open about their use of psychedelics and the ability of opening their third eye. After taking psychedelics many times, AK and ISSA are done with them, outgrowing the trips.
“Don’t need no other drug dose, we done those”
Tracks such as “Crescendo” and “Final Destination” have a heavier and more aggressive tone. Their love bud is what crescendo, meaning getting progressively loud (loud aka weed duh), is based off of. The song produced by Ronny J has a beat that may have “sunk Atlantis”, almost breaking my speaker as the bass ripped through. This shit definitely goes loud. Their bold statement about being the nicest duo since Mobb Deep shows how confident the two are, especially in this project.
“We the nicest two to spit since Prodigy linked up with Havoc”
“Final Destination” is the 14th track, picking up the tempo towards the end of the album. It’s a journey, complimented by the production of Pro Era’s very own Powers Pleasant. They solidify their positions in the game, as being the men of New York.
“Resurrect the Junior M.A.F.I.A. the new age on commission”
Songs like “Super Potent” and “How We Roll” are genuinely bumps for the meanest cyph. You’ll find yourself hitting up your plug, rolling up and sparking to the dopest and smoothest beats. Trees are their lifestyle, fire burning higher learning.
“How We Roll” speaks more to the audience about how the two have found their purpose in life, no matter where their positions in the game are.
“Never in the rap race
Walkin at my own pace”
Despite where mainstream media puts them, The Underachievers will always stay true to their beast coast sound and continue to dodge punches and come with that uppercut if necessary.
“Phoenix Feathers” and “Break the System” serve as more serious tracks, regarding to the oppression, injustice, and incarceration of black people. In “Phoenix Feathers” they regard to black people as a Phoenix, not earning feathers even after rising from the ashes. They want to use their voices to move an audience and “exile the hatred”.
“We gon’ be the young nation to raise up and influence changes”
“Break the System”, another track featuring Mello, entails several narratives that demonstrate the impact of incarceration within black communities and the setup of living in the hood as it serves as a death trap for the system.
“They incarcerate us, modern stages really real
I been contemplating nights, I stay up with the steel”
One of my favorite tracks is “Different Worlds”, produced by _. Its trippy and hypnotizing, accompanied by a cameo of a jazzy trumpet mute. The straight bars and lack of a chorus highlights the strength the lyricists have, indeed, with their “elite” pens. They kill this song, from Issa’s intro with the bold statement about the president to AK’s outro, drawing a line between the different worlds.
“Now where the CIA? They need to kill another president
Cause watchin Donald Trump feel like a episode of wrestlin”
“Mumble rappers can’t compete”
The duo concludes “Renaissance” with “Head Right”, chanting for those who have doubted them to get their head right before getting shot and killed in the game. They reminisce on where they were to present day, from Flatbush to Los Angeles.
“Blowing dope inside a penthouse came a long way from the basement”
Their artwork has consistently been complex and artsy as the Lords of Flatbush have released more projects throughout the years. The Underachievers have come a long way from Indigosim to their third studio album. Regardless of where they reside, the group will always represent beast coast to the fullest and continue referring to Dragon Ball Z as they have been since the beginning.