The Underachievers recently sat down for a wide-ranging interview with MONTREALITY, which found emcees Issa Gold and AKTHESAVIOR tackling everything from Dragon Ball Z storylines and meditation to childhood toys and religion.
While Issa revealing Majin Buu as his favorite DBZ character is worth the price of admission—a 15-second ad before the interview begins playing on YouTube—the most interesting portion of their conversation comes at the 5-minute mark, when the Brooklyn native goes from praising Kendrick Lamar ("He's the most talented person in hip-hop") to sharing advice ScHoolboy Q gave him some years back.
"It's our fourth year, period, making music. Period," said Issa. "We might have joked around prior, but really, starting to make music... you get strayed away sometimes, like this guy's doing this and that might work, but [Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole and Chance The Rapper] keep me grounded, knowing that if I stay true to myself—and ScHoolboy Q told me the exact same thing years ago: stay true to yourself, because the game will adjust to you."
The idea that the music industry will placate to a specific sound, style, approach or methodology isn't advice that will work for every artist, especially those who are more concerned with cashing in on a current wave and riding it for as long as the offers are being made and the checks are being cut. Think Fetty Wap. Or Kid Ink.
But if you want to play the long game—developing your voice, connecting with a particular sonic template or producer that complements your artistic vision—it will require patience, belief in self and actual skill.
The Underachievers, now three full-length albums into their brief career, are a shining example of what happens if you have the talent, the ability to craft your own sound and you elect to heed Q's advice. From their 2014 debut Cellar Door: Terminus ut Exordium to the recently released Renaissance, the duo has made music that is completely organic, original in sound and approach, and unaffected by current Billboard trends.
No, UA aren't swimming in money or running out of room on their walls for new plaques, but their grassroots approach has allowed the pair to build a loyal, hardcore fan base. Slow and steady can win the race, you just have to wait for the game to adjust over time.