Review Summary: The Underachievers have their third eye open.
Within the past few years the New York rap scene has seen somewhat of a revival. Joey Bada$$ used nostalgic 90s beats and Golden-Age imagery on his debut mixtape, “1999
”, while groups like A$AP Mob and Flatbrush Zombies have been much more eclectic and divisive with their approach; combining lush and synth-heavy boom-bap beats with a southern flow on their releases. Unfortunately, none of these groups are able to out perform their influences, or add anything groundbreaking to their sound. The duo, The Underachievers, however, are able to successfully combine both Joey's retro-90s hip-hop sound and A$AP’s modern 808-laden production and make a unique style of their own.
Not only do The Underachievers have a more compelling sound than either side of the revival, they are also much more original in their approach. Instead of just ripping off 90s hip-hop, The Underachievers add modern production and fairly original lyrics. The production on “Indigoism
” is both trippy (they are signed to Flying Lotus’s Brainfeeder label, what else would you expect?) and traditional in its approach. The production varies from sounding like they were forgotten Souls of Mischief beats and sounding like something that El-P might produce.
What makes “Indigoism
” so great is that the duo never fully commits to one specific style of hip-hop. They are able to sound both psychedelic and like Nas circa 1994, on tracks like “Land of the Lords”, “The Mahdi” and “Gold Soul Theory”. Unlike their peers in A$AP Mob and Pro Era, both MCs of The Underachievers rap with a much stronger and impressive flow. Unlike members in Pro Era and A$AP Mob, who often sound like they are trying to come up with new words in order to make sense, The Underachievers are far more lyrical in their approach, often sounding like they’ve got too much to say to fit into just one mixtape. In addition to their lyrical approach The Underachievers are constantly changing up their flows from verse to verse without sounding confused or scatterbrained.
”, it is clear that The Underachievers are a talented group that's ahead of their peers in the scene. Although there are a few minor flaws with the lyrics (repeating the phrase “third eye” more times than I can count), this is somewhat expected considering this is their first release and is easily overlooked due to the way they are performed by the MCs. The Underachievers are adding fiery passion to the conscious hip-hop scene by playing with the styles of their influences and creating a style that is familiar yet new at the same time.