GRACIE CULVER, ’19
“I know my soul was born to do some cool ‘thangs,’” rapper AK declares over the unique wooden flute-and-maracas instrumental in his opening song “Rain Dance (Phase 1 Intro)”. Along with his rap partner Issa Gold, the rap duo, The Underachievers, dropped their new album Evermore: The Art of Duality on September 24th.
From Flatbush Brooklyn, The Underachievers consists of 24 year old AK and 25 year old Issa Gold—a talented rap group that breach the nature of present-day hip hop in all the best ways. This group stresses their sincere philosophical message. Unlike a lot of artists that center their music around fame and material items, The Underachievers are reaching out to the listeners by expounding on their personal experiences, struggles, and ambitions. In “Shine All Gold, Issa Gold verbalizes: “Obstacles come inside of your path/And make you switch up and step on the gas/If you look back inside of your path/You find direction, it’s like your own map.” AK and Gold do an exceptional job of delivering hope in light of reality’s struggles.
This new album specifically reflects on the rappers’ resolute quest for enlightenment expressed through their rap lyrics. What makes Evermore: The Art of Duality so unique is the fact that it’s segmented into two “phases.” The first half of the album is more positive, mellow, and easygoing, while the second half is more adrenalized, aggressive, and edgy. The two “phases” are portrayed through the album artwork. Two scenes, one of Issa Gold in space and one of AK on the streets, were split diagonally across the album cover.
The duo created a distinctive and unparalleled world of sounds, melodies, beats, and instrumentals for the listeners to enjoy. Acoustic instruments match drums and build onto techno beats and electric keyboard melodies. A song entitled “Reincarnation” acts as the album’s transition from light to dark. Contrast is something that the album stresses often. This concept is explored by The Underachievers as they address such ideas as the different levels of self, confusion versus coherence, and peace versus conflict. The hazy trance of the first half of the album is broken as the trap instrumentals abruptly kick off the second half. The second half of the album is really a reminder of where the two rappers came from; they’re still in touch with the real world and the Brooklyn streets they were raised on.
In interviews with The Underachievers, Issa Gold’s mid-baritone voice speaks confidently at a fast pace, while AK has a heavier and slower-paced and barking tone. This ultimately provides a very satisfying vocal contrast heard in their music.
While still fresh partners in the rap industry (only a couple years), the duo has achieved their goal of inspiring so much of the youth that follows their music. A lot of hip-hop and rap is something that people just hear. But The Underachievers’ new album, like classic old-school Hip Hop, is something that people can really listen to and find inspiration.