The Underachievers previous release Indigoism is, to date, one of my (and many others) favourite releases of the year. Winning listeners over with outstanding lyrical technique and production sounding like 90’s boom bap on a shroom trip. Interwoven with this were the spiritually potent lyrics and messages sent from the bottom of the Brooklyn duo’s weed sack. With this successful formula, it would seem strange to deviate from it. However, that’s exactly what has happened on The Lords of Flatbush.
Issy Gold and AK have enlisted the help of notorious producer Lex Luger, the man behind songs like Waka Flocka Flame’s ‘Hard in Da Paint’, to compile a mixtape of self-proclaimed “bangers”:
Issy tweeted “This tape is mostly bangers. All the lyrical conscious expanding knowledge filled magical triple optics— will have to wait for the album.”
However, this is not to say that The Lords of Flatbush is not an enjoyable listen, nor is it completely devoid of the things which made The Underachievers so likeable on Indigoism. The lyricism is still there, along with the vicious flows and their obsession with psychedelics and enlightenment. One of the lines which may best describe this mixtape comes in the opening line of track two ‘Flexing’; “Elevated but you know that I be flexing”, although they retain their core values (spiritual elevation/enlightenment), they are simply trying on a different, trap influenced sound.
The flood-gates are opened with the 2-minute long ‘Leaving Scraps’, which features a hyped-up beat and rapidly paced verses from both Issy and AK, pretty much a taster for what the rest of the tape is like. From here on ‘Flexing’ and ‘Cold Crush’ bang away with heavy, stereotypical trap beats. ‘Still Shining’ comes through with more familiar lyrical themes; “People talk a lot of shit but they don’t know my heart. Spread love, do drugs and say a prayer for those in the dark. Black skin, gold soul, I’m teaching n—–s how to play they part. Can’t pave the way but I can show you where you need to start. Follow your dreams, create, your world is your reality. Uplift your shit, don’t care if they question your sanity.”
‘Melody of the Free’ features perhaps the most interesting production on Lords of Flatbush, the jazz theme of the track acts as a sort of calm before the storm, it is the predecessor to the aggression of ‘Midnight Augusto’: “See me in the front with circle of the winners / Show me my opponent watch me mother—in kill him / Third eye precision ain’t no way that we gon’ miss him”.
The last track ‘NASA’ is probably the stand-out for me on the mixtape, coincidentally it is the only song that doesn’t feature Lex Luger on production. Fellow Beast Coast member Erick ‘Arc’ Elliott (Flatbush Zombies) takes the reigns on this track and the result is far better suited to The Underachievers style. Issy and AK again rip through their verses voraciously, dropping trademark bravado spiritual bombshells.
Although this tape may be an unwanted departure from Indigoism, it definitely still has its high points. However, I can’t wait for Issy and AK to get back to their “lyrical concious expanding knowledge filled magical triple optics” shit.
Download The Lords of Flatbush here: http://www.hotnewhiphop.com/the-underachievers-the-lords-of-flatbush-mixtape.94414.html