When Indigoism came out at the beginning of this year, I immediately thought of classic duos like Smif-n-Wessun and M.O.P. In those groups’ respective primes, both members were basically evenly skilled and equally compelling. No one was waiting out a Billy Danze verse so that Lil’ Fame could take the mic, or hoping Tek would wrap things up so Steele could get his turn. On nearly every track on Indigoism, the same was true of both Underachievers, Issa Dash and AK. They worked perfectly as a self-contained group, and it’s telling that they are the only two voices on the mixtape.
Now the group has a Nick Lewis-produced new single, “The Proclamation,” with an EP produced entirely by Lex Luger on the way. The latter seems like an odd choice for a group with their own stable of amazing producers from Indigoism as well as access to the many groundbreaking beatmakers with whom they share space on the Brainfeeder roster. Still, they were able to handle themselves on beats as varied as “Herb Shuttles” and “The Mahdi” without trouble, so they’ll probably still sound great over Lex Luger’s trunk-rattling goon rap beats (and a collaboration between the Underachievers and frequent Lex Luger collaborator Juicy J would be a drug anthem for the ages).
“The Proclamation” is another reason to be excited for the group’s future. Rapping over a sample of a song as iconic as “Gimme Shelter” is usually a losing game, but they’ve managed to make the sample their own and turn in one of their best songs yet. Yet I fear they might be on the verge of an Organized Konfusion-type situation. AK has been rapping for years, while Issa only started a few months before they recorded their first song. Issa’s greenness was not an issue on Indigoism, and his flow, rhyme schemes, lyrics, and ability to command the mic are frankly astounding for someone so inexperienced. But “The Proclamation” gives the impression that AK might be developing much faster than Issa. AK’s verse is maybe the best he’s ever laid down, and he has the best flow of any young rapper out right now (sorry Kendrick, but you’re just barely edged out by AK). I just don’t want to see him becoming the Pharoahe Monch to Issa’s Prince Po. Issa is a great rapper, and it would be a shame for him to be overshadowed by his partner-in-rhyme, but AK is not making things easy for him. This is a good problem for a new group to have, and if they keep putting out music as incredible as “The Proclamation,” then it will be an easy one to overlook.