There are very few verses that earn a rewind. This, on the other hand, can't help but feel a little slapdash and probably should have been dropped as a mixtape, given its lack of internal focus, if only to get a little more leeway as a collection of sharp but directionless bars. Honestly, want to listen to the rest of their stuff. Let's face it, The Underachievers have always felt a little scattershot in their writing in between bragging, weed and sex references, and hints of deeper insight and social commentary, but nowhere does it feel more messy than it does here - kind of ironic, considering a lack of defined focus is more often than not my biggest complaint about mumble rappers too. So hyped to see them when they stop by my town, so envious of any of ya'll that get to go to the release concert in Santa Ana. And what frustrates me about this is that when it comes to the wordplay and style of this brand of hip-hop, both sides of their duality are right up my alley. I'm trying to figure out the sample on I feel like it's Pink Floyd, either from a dark side of the moon or wish you were here track, but I can't find it might have to listen through both albums to find it because I feel like I recognsie it but can't put my thumb on it Edit: May have found it.
They have a good variety, so no two verses sound alike. How do you feel about the production here? At this point in their career, I expected a little more depth to their songs. After listening to both I hear a resemblance but think it's somewhat off. But this takes us to the other issue: for as much as I like a lot of this production, full of prominent horns, sharp fragments of guitar and bass, piano balancing against cooler, wiry synths and noisy percussion, be it boombap or trap, most of it is supporting songs that can feel undercooked or lacking the structure or progression to hit harder. And lyrically it is up there with the best albums of the year so far. The echoing guitars on 'Eyes Wide Open', the noisier drums on 'Break The System', the jazzy touches on 'Kiss The Sky' and 'Different Worlds' courtesy of the prominent sax, the bass-heavy trap knock of 'Crescendo' courtesy of Ronny J who with this and his work with Denzel Curry really is a guy I need to watch for more, to the lingering guitars and bass against the cawing on 'Phoenix Feathers'.
If this is just the warmup, I really can't wait for their album. So you can bet I was happy that there was a new record from The Underachievers coming up my schedule to cover, seemingly with little-to-no actual buzz! Producers on the album were vast and eclectic, ranging from Lapalux to Ryan Hemsworth and Portugal. But this takes us to the other issue: for as much as I like a lot of this production, full of prominent horns, sharp fragments of guitar and bass, piano balancing against cooler, wiry synths and noisy percussion, be it boombap or trap, most of it is supporting songs that can feel undercooked or lacking the structure or progression to hit harder. If you want to dive into them a bit more: Indigoism - Their first project, very dope mixtape, mixture of boom-bapy bangers and some slower tracks, high energy and fast flows. I've skimmed through some of their older projects and they sound amazing.
Goldenvoice is bringing the duo out in support of their third album Renaissance, which came out earlier this year. Aside from the changing sounds the lyrics are almost indistinguishable from each other, you could easily transpose the verses from one song to the other and nobody would notice. But I have never found anything they've done to be that interesting sonically or really stand out. For both the ears and eyes this album feels like a jumble, something that could and should have been edited down or re-ordered before releasing. Stanford tracks for me include phoenix feathers, cobra clutch and final destination, but all the songs are still hype as fuck. Often when they talk about drugs they refer to its positive, medicinal or mind-expanding qualities.
Asking for or offering such content either publicly or via direct messages or other means is not allowed. Okay, so this is supposed to be a renaissance of traditional Hip-Hop, right? And what frustrates me about this is that when it comes to the wordplay and style of this brand of hip-hop, both sides of their duality are right up my alley. And this ties back into probably my biggest issue with this album as a whole, a severe lack of focus within songs. We got a mixtape, an upcoming album, and then possibly a collab tape. This release was originally slated for February, but got pushed back to build more hype for it. References to several things are made throughout the album. Definitely give Cellar Door another couple spins, if you're a fan of there's then I think this is their one overlooked tape, has some hidden bangers on there for sure.
And this ties back into probably my biggest issue with this album as a whole, a severe lack of focus within songs. So you can bet I was happy that there was a new record from The Underachievers coming up my schedule to cover, seemingly with little-to-no actual buzz! When I find the time I can't wait to go through their whole discography. Lord of Flatbush followed soon after. . They continue to do their own thing, and sounds like they really mastered this neo-boom bap style. The cover art on this is fantastic as well, I love it even more than the Evermore cover I think.
Unfortunately for as scattershot as this project can feel, it also feels a little sloppier — in other words, very much feeling like a continuation of that 2015 project except with less impact. And what gets all the more frustrating is that there are points where they do showcase some actual storytelling that reflects more focus and ambition - the crime on Issa's verse of 'Break The System' is a great example, with the painful dramatic conclusion of a son locked in the same cell as his father - but they are few and far between, and more often than not I find myself gravitating to the songs that are more straightforward trap-flavoured barfests, like 'Crescendo' or 'Cobra Clutch'. Seamless mix of their usual bangers as well as shit to vibe out to, I've seriously just been listening to the entire album on repeat for the last day or so and haven't even found a song worth skipping yet. Both mixtapes tackled the themes like society, religion, psychedelics, culture and spiritualism. Maybe it's because some of the flows can feel a little more languid, but I'm hearing a fair few more forced or flubbed rhymes on this project, and considering how much they are looking to smack down mumble rappers for being boring trend-followers to be pitied than anything else, they should not be this easy to spot. There are other problems too, for instance some tracks are too short. Whereas like Flatbush Zombies have a more diverse set of voices and styles.
They claim it consists mostly of B-sides for their next effort due out in September, which will have a stronger theme and more powerful message. It might be the best song on the album. The album maintains it's sound and doesn't overstay it's welcome in my opinion. These differences are still present today, but many artists have their own sound or influences outside of their region. I like all of their projects to varying degrees, and I'm always hype to hear their new stuff. Crescendo is my go to track at the moment. Some folks have described this as more of a mixtape than a cohesive project - and I can definitely hear that in both the shorter track lengths and much more scattered track ordering - but that doesn't have to be a bad thing, considering both of these two can rap their asses off.