Release Date: Aug 12, 2014
Record label: RPM MSC Distribution
Genre(s): Rap, East Coast Rap
"Cellar Door" are supposedly the most phonetically beautiful words in the English language. Cellar Door: Terminus Ut Exordium on the other hand, is more of a gnarled beauty, like a dented Ferrari or a swan with prison tats. Brooklyn duo AK and Issa Gold float backwards here in some respects, towards their first mixtape's psychedelic undercurrent and away from the bass-y bangers of Lords of Flatbush.Of course, that's not to say that there are no bangers here — check out "Incandescent" blaring from a Honda Civic in your neighbourhood soon — but it's the lysergic tracks that make this album.
Flatbush, Brooklyn hip-hop duo the Underachievers met and became friends over a shared love of mind-expanding drugs. MCs AK and Issa Gold got into a conversation about psychedelics while smoking pot at a mutual friend's house and were hanging out, making tracks and tripping together almost immediately thereafter, choosing the name Underachievers due to their fondness for activities that might come off as less than motivated to mainstream society. The irony is that Underachievers create anything but the type of mindless stoner pop-rap blather that Wiz Kalifah peddles or the one-dimensional weed-obsessed routines that afforded Cypress Hill their entire career.
If one were to pick a feasible alternative for kids coming of age seeking deeper themes than what mainstream Rap offers, Brooklyn’s Beast Coast crew would be amongst the sure bets. Comprised of Joey Bada$$, Flatbush Zombies and others, the collective can be compared to the Native Tongues, Wu-Tang Clan, Hieroglyphics and those to build organic movements with minimal creative compromise. Another branch on this tree, The Underachievers’ commitment to enlightenment has earned them a slot on Flying Lotus’ experimental Brainfeeder label.
Brooklyn’s deli cats, like the cats in ancient Egypt, roam the crowded, shelved confines, guarding sacred objects that stimulate the opening of the third eye, our pineal gland, which releases DMT. To Flatbush’s The Underachievers, the bodega is as sacred a place as a pyramid: Olde English is the mead of pharaohs, and blunt wraps the yield of the harvest. Like two prophets, living not in pyramids, but in the projects, Issa Gold and AK rap on their debut album, called Cellar Door: Terminus ut Exordium (that’s a Latin phrase that translates to “The End of the Beginning”) with inspiring words of wisdom.
There’s someone within your social network Shmoney Dancing right now as you’re reading this, much to some oldhead or social activist’s chagrin. A cursory glance at hip-hop and reveals its long-running history with violence. Positivity and consciousness doesn’t get DJ spins though, and Bobby Shmurda’s wingman Rowdy Rebel is just trying to dance.
“Cellar door” has been cited as one of the most phonetically beautiful phrases in the English language, regardless of how it’s used. It’s an ironic title for an album that tries so persistently to convey its message; even if the writing by the Underachievers — the Flatbush, Brooklyn duo of AK and Issa Gold — is inconsistent, it always sounds good. Both rappers are technically brilliant, deftly sticking and moving in double-time on tracks like “Radiance” and particularly “Chrysalis,” where their flows twist in and out of trap percussion and an icy vocal sample.