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Cellar Door: Terminus Ut Exordium

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Album Review

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. Early mixtapes sported not just inventive production but lyrical nods to third-eye spirituality and unconventional perspectives on social and religious issues. Proper debut full-length Cellar Door: Terminus Ut Exordium finds the Underachievers continuing on the strengths of their mixtape material, with their psychedelic tendencies coming through more in the album's somewhat ethereal production than anywhere else. The haunted string samples and syrupy drums of standout track "Chrysalis" back up the duo's nonstop flow, fluid and ceaseless lyrics feeling more dreamlike when meeting up with the almost celestial vibe of the beat. Trippy bangers like "Quiescent" and lurching, submerged beats like "Metropolis" show a little of what made the Underachievers appealing enough to producer Flying Lotus to sign them to his Brainfeeder label immediately. There's a kinship between Flying Lotus' experimental production daring and the Underachievers' wavy, paranoid, and still unfailingly intelligent rhyme styles. Cellar Door is a dense, sometimes relentless affair, and it takes several passes to latch on to the plethora of lyrical and production ideas that seem to flow by in a blur, but the Underachievers don't seem highly concerned with getting any overt points across. Instead, they've constructed a vivid and often mysterious beast of an album with snippets of commentary and perspective hidden within, highly enjoyable either taken at face value or dug into deeper.

Customer Reviews

Uplifting a generation

Keep spitting that real. If you are a fan of any music peep that UA.


These two have taught me more than the San Diego Unified School District.


UA is my favorite, but this album is trash. What happened to indigoism?? Remember hearing songs like "The Mahdi"and "Leopard Shepard"? Those were the days. I somewhat felt like 2 songs on this album. Huge letdown


Formed: 2011 in Flatbush, Brooklyn, New York

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '10s

East Coast hip-hop duo the Underachievers formed in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn in 2011, comprised of rappers AK and Issa Gold. AK had originally been using the stage name "The Underachiever" and applied the moniker to the duo when they began, representing their fondness for smoking weed, experimenting with psychedelic drugs, and other interests which could be seen as symptoms of underachievement by mainstream society. Their curiosity for psychedelics bled through into a somewhat trippy...
Full Bio
Cellar Door: Terminus Ut Exordium, The Underachievers
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Customer Ratings