The Underachievers

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The Underachievers
Issa Gold and AK performing in August 2013
Background information
OriginBrooklyn, New York, United States
GenresEast Coast hip hop, psychedelic hip hop, conscious rap
Years active2011–present
Labels Caroline
Associated acts
Issa Gold

The Underachievers are an American hip hop duo from Flatbush, Brooklyn, New York. Formed in 2011, the duo is composed of rappers AKTHESAVIOR and Issa Gold. American record producer Flying Lotus signed the duo to his Brainfeeder record label in 2012. Following that signing they independently released two mixtapes, Indigoism and Lords of Flatbush in 2013. Their debut studio album Cellar Door: Terminus Ut Exordium was released on August 12, 2014. The Underachievers released their second official album Evermore: The Art of Duality on September 25, 2015. Their third album, Renaissance was released on May 19, 2017.


2007–2010: Early beginnings[edit]

Marlon Fung (Issa Gold) and Akeem Joseph (AK) grew up just a few blocks from each other in Flatbush, Brooklyn. The duo first met in 2007, after AK's friend brought Issa to his house one day to smoke marijuana, where they clicked instantly and discussed psychedelic drugs, which they would later do together along with fellow Brooklyn rappers Meechy Darko and Zombie Juice, both of the Flatbush Zombies.[1][2]

2011–2012: Career beginnings, signing to Brainfeeder[edit]

AK began rapping at the age of eleven, later on in high school he would work under the stage name The Underachiever.[3] Issa Gold started rapping much later, not taking it seriously until around late 2011. The duo then began making music together under the name "The Underachievers" after a producer pushed them to work together, which resulted in them forming the group.[4] Issa explained the name saying, "I feel like the things that we do could be considered underachieving, like we smoke pot. People would probably meet us at first and be like, They're probably just potheads. And then they'll talk to me, or talk to AK, and be like, 'alright, they're intelligent.' So it's just a flip on that. Like, The Underachievers, even though technically we're doing underachiever things, we're bringing positive energy."[3]

In May 2012, they released their first music video for the song "So Devilish".[5] Following the videos release they began gaining attention quickly, with their second officially released song "Gold Soul Theory" getting played on BBC Radio in August 2012, even though they had yet to sign a recording contract. Their music was also passed on to record producer Flying Lotus, who the following day flew them out to Los Angeles to meet them the day after they talked for the first time.[6] After they met a few times and performed a few shows for him, he signed them to his Brainfeeder record label.[7] Flying Lotus said he already wanted to sign the duo after listening to one song for only 20 seconds.[8] Around the same time they signed they released their third music video for "Herb Shuttles", which has gotten over seventeen million views on YouTube.[9][10] Around mid-2012, The Underachievers, Pro Era and Flatbush Zombies formed the New York hip hop supergroup Beast Coast.[11]

2013: Indigoism and Lords of Flatbush[edit]

The duo released their first official mixtape Indigoism on February 1, 2013, via Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder record label.[12] Indigoism featured psychedelic lyrics, allusions to the third eye and spirituality.[13] The mixtape was met with very positive reviews from music critics upon its release, including by BBC.[14] On March 13, 2013, The Underachievers released "No Religion", their first collaboration with Flatbush Zombies.[15] Following the release of Indigoism they toured North America and Australia with Joey Badass, Pro Era and Flatbush Zombies from March 21 until April 20, 2013.[2][16] On July 19, 2013, Indigoism was released to iTunes for retail sale.[17]

On August 20, 2013, they released the first song from their second mixtape Lords of Flatbush, "Leaving Scraps".[18] The following day they released their first retail single "The Proclamation" to iTunes.[19] On August 29, 2013, The Underachievers released Lords of Flatbush, a nine track mixtape featuring production primarily by Lex Luger, along with Flatbush Zombie's Erick Arc Elliot and EFF.DOPE.[20][21][22] Issa Gold explained the mixtape saying, "This tape is mostly bangers. All the lyrical conscious expanding knowledge filled magical triple optic shit will have to wait for the upcoming album."[23] Lords of Flatbush was also met with positive critical reception.[24] Stereogum named Lords of Flatbush their mixtape of the week the week of its release.[25] XXL gave the mixtape a 4 out of 5 saying, "This project from The Underachievers may not be as deep and reflective as Indigoism, but it has its high points and serves as a step forward with the group. With a captivating performance in the final half of the tape, the Lords of Flatbush will surely have fans on the edge of their seat for their upcoming album."[26] On September 14, 2013, they released the music video for "N.A.S.A."[27]

2013–present: Cellar Door: Terminus Ut Exordium, Evermore: The Art of Duality and Renaissance[edit]

From October 17, through November 30, 2013, The Underachievers toured with Joey Badass, Pro Era, Ab-Soul, and Chevy Woods, among others on the fourth annual "The Smokers Club Tour".[28] On November 19, 2013, Issa Gold confirmed that The Underachievers would be releasing their debut album The Cellar Door in early 2014. He also revealed that they would begin The Cellar Door Tour in April 2014.[29] Then in December 2013, The Underachievers were featured on Talib Kweli's sixth studio album Gravitas, on the song "New Leaders".[30]

On January 28, 2014, Issa Gold updated saying that the album would be released by April 2014,[31] however, it was eventually pushed back to August 12, 2014 now retitled Cellar Door: Terminus Ut Exordium.

The Underachievers released Cellar Door: Terminus Ut Exordium after mixtape releases from Issa Gold and AK, respectively. Issa Gold released his mixtape, Conversations with a Butterfly and AK released his mixtape, Blessings in the Gray to help build hype for their new album. Shortly after the album dropped, The Underachievers announced a two-month tour with fellow "Beast Coast" members The Flatbush Zombies, as Clockwork Indigo. This tour will be named Electric Koolaid Experience

On July 8, they announced that their upcoming project will be titled "Evermore - The Art of Duality", alongside an accompanying World Tour. The album's first single "Take Your Place" was released on July 10. The album was released on September 25, 2015.

On February 23, 2016, the line up for hip hop artists at the 2016 Osheaga Music Festival were announced; the Underachievers were one of the acts.[32]

On May 15, 2016, The Underachievers released a mixtape titled It Happened In Flatbush. The mixtape was released after Issa Gold tweeted that he would release the mixtape if one of his tweets reached 5,000 retweets. Within a couple of hours, the mixtape was released on Soundcloud.

On January 30, 2017, The Underachievers collaborated with House/Techno artist and DJ Barclay Crenshaw on the song titled "Artifacts". On Feb 3, 2017, The Underachievers released the first single "Gotham Nights" for their new studio album named Renaissance. On February 8, 2017, The Underachievers released the second single, "Cobra Clutch". On March 17, 2017, the single Final Destination was released. On March 27, 2017, The Underachievers released the third single "Head Right". The album Renaissance was released on May 19, 2017.

Musical style and influence[edit]

Their musical style is based around old school New York hip hop and psychedelic hip hop.[2][33] Psychedelic drugs such as acid and shrooms have a significant effect on their musical style.[34] Issa Gold credits Lupe Fiasco and Kanye West as his greatest musical influences. The group also significantly listens to other genres of music, with Gold saying his favorite artist is John Mayer.[35]

Personal life[edit]

Issa's family is from Guyana and his father is half-Chinese.[1] AK's family is originally from Trinidad. His father is a corrections officer.[1]

Issa was very good childhood friends with Zombie Juice of the Flatbush Zombies, as they grew up in the same building in Flatbush, Brooklyn. He also has known Meechy Darko, also of the Flatbush Zombies, since they were 12 years old.[1] He did acid for the first time at the age of fourteen.[36] Both members of The Underachievers are good friends with the members of Flatbush Zombies and Pro Era.[37]


Studio albums[edit]

List of albums, with selected chart positions
Title Album details Peak chart positions
US US R&B/HH US Rap US Ind. Albums
Cellar Door: Terminus ut Exordium 86 16 11
Evermore: The Art of Duality
  • Release date: September 25, 2015
  • Label: RPM MSC Distribution
  • Format: CD, digital download
105 10 9
  • Release date: May 19, 2017
  • Label: RPM MSC Distribution
  • Format: CD, digital download
After the Rain
  • Release date: November 9, 2018
  • Label: Slang Music
  • Format: Digital download
"—" denotes a title that did not chart, or was not released in that territory.


List of extended-plays, with selected details
Title Album details
Clockwork Indigo (with Flatbush Zombies) (as Clockwork Indigo)
  • Released: October 17, 2014
  • Format: Digital download
  • Label: Self-released


Year Album details
2013 Indigoism
The Lords of Flatbush
  • Release date: August 29, 2013
  • Label: Elevated Nations, RPM MSC Distribution, Brainfeeder
2016 It Happened In Flatbush
  • Release date: May 15, 2016[38]
  • Label: Brainfeeder


  1. ^ a b c d "Growing Up In Brooklyn & Meeting — Who Are The Underachievers?". Complex. 2013-02-20. Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  2. ^ a b c Proctor, Johnny. "The Underachievers & Their New Age Psychedelic Hip-Hop". Sabotage Times. Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  3. ^ a b "The Group Name & Being a Duo — Who Are The Underachievers?". Complex. 2013-02-20. Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  4. ^ "First Recordings — Who Are The Underachievers?". Complex. 2013-02-20. Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  5. ^ ""So Devilish" — Who Are The Underachievers?". Complex. 2013-02-20. Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  6. ^ Phillip Mlynar. "Meet the Underachievers, the Duo Flying Lotus Signed On First Listen". MTV Hive. Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  7. ^ "Linking Up With Flying Lotus — Who Are The Underachievers?". Complex. 2013-02-20. Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  8. ^ "OTW #488: The Underachievers | Features | Clash Magazine". 2012-03-30. Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  9. ^ ""Herb Shuttles" — Who Are The Underachievers?". Complex. 2013-02-20. Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  10. ^ "Who Are The Underachievers?". Complex. 2013-02-20. Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  11. ^ "Relationship with Pro Era/Beast Coast — Who Are The Underachievers?". Complex. 2013-02-20. Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  12. ^ "Download The Underachievers' Indigoism Mixtape". The Fader. 2013-02-01. Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  13. ^ Julia LeConte (2013-06-14). "The Underachievers | NOW Magazine". Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  14. ^ "Music - Review of The Underachievers - Indigoism". BBC. 2013-02-01. Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  15. ^ "Flatbush Zombies / The Underachievers: "No Religion" | Tracks". Pitchfork. 2013-03-13. Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  16. ^ Ahmadi, Kevin. "Joey Bada$$, Pro Era, Flatbush Zombies and the Underachievers Announce "Beast Coastal Tour" : RESPECT". Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  17. ^ "iTunes - Music - Indigoism by The Underachievers". 2013-07-19. Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  18. ^ "Listen to The Underachievers' New Track "Leaving Scraps" | NOISEY". Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  19. ^ "iTunes - Music - The Proclamation - Single by The Underachievers". 2013-08-21. Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  20. ^ "Download The Underachievers' New Mixtape 'Lords Of Flatbush'". TheSource. 2013-08-29. Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  21. ^ Cruella (2013-08-29). "The Underachievers- "The Lords of Flatbush" (Mixtape) [LISTEN/DOWNLOAD]". Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  22. ^ "The Underachievers - The Lords of Flatbush [Mixtape] | Stream/Download". SoulCulture. 2013-08-29. Retrieved 2013-09-23.
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  24. ^ "REVIEW: The Underachievers – 'The Lords of Flatbush' Mixtape". 2013-09-05. Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  25. ^ "Mixtape Of The Week: The Underachievers The Lords Of Flatbush". Stereogum. 2013-09-04. Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  26. ^ "The Underachievers Test Out A New Approach On 'Lords Of Flatbush' Mixtape - XXL". 2013-09-12. Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  27. ^ "The Underachievers' 'N.A.S.A.' Video". 2013-09-13. Retrieved 2014-04-09.
  28. ^ "Joey Bada$$, Ab-Soul, and The Underachievers team for The Smokers Club tour". Consequence of Sound. 2013-08-26. Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  29. ^ "The Underachievers Announce New 2014 Album and Tour". The Masked Gorilla. Retrieved 2014-04-09.
  30. ^ Baker, Soren (2013-12-16). "Talib Kweli "Gravitas" Cover Art, Tracklist & Album Stream | Get The Latest Hip Hop News, Rap News & Hip Hop Album Sales". HipHop DX. Retrieved 2014-04-09.
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  32. ^ Marsh, Ray (February 23, 2016). "2016 Osheaga line up announced". RapWave. Retrieved February 24, 2016.
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  34. ^ "The Underachievers: Brooklyn Psych-Rap Duo Elevates Our State of Mind | SPIN | Profiles | This Is Happening". SPIN. 2013-08-13. Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  35. ^ "Musical Influences — Who Are The Underachievers?". Complex. 2013-02-20. Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  36. ^ "Influence of Psychedelic Drugs — Who Are The Underachievers?". Complex. 2013-02-20. Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  37. ^ "Their Relationship with Flatbush Zombies — Who Are The Underachievers?". Complex. 2013-02-20. Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  38. ^ Schwartz, Danny (May 15, 2016). "It Happened In Flatbush mixtape". Hotnewhiphop. Retrieved May 20, 2016.

External links[edit]