OTW #488: The Underachievers

Tripped-out, experimental hip-hop and dirty south rap beats

Straight outta Flatbush are a duo repping ‘Beastcoast’ – the new New York. Part of the loose collective made up of the Flatbush Zombies, Joey Bada$$ and his Pro Era crew, they also count the A$AP mob as friends. “New York and Flatbush are awesome places, very culturally rooted since everyone migrated here from some other country.” Issa Dash and Ak are in good company.

It was sheer luck that got them picked up by the Brainfeeder camp, though. After one of Dash’s Twitter followers said she’d show them to “her boy Steve”, it turned out to be a certain Steve Ellison, AKA Flying Lotus. “He loved it and gave us a call the next day,” they recall. After hearing the experimental, trippy sounds that the imprint has championed, FlyLo got the pair on board, writing: {I couldn’t figure out why these kids weren’t killing it right now. Within the first 20 seconds I was pretty sure I was going to try to sign them. I never get that feeling.”

Contrasting starkly with the overbuilt, high-rise metropolis that they emerge from, the philosophy of the rap duo is grounded in a heavy sense of mysticism. Discovering Buddhism and other religious beliefs at a young age, along with perception-altering hallucinogens, Ak and Issa encourage all things divine and ‘elevated’.

This is the philosophy of ‘Indigoism’ – their lyrics reference Ancient Egyptology and seeing through the pineal ‘Third Eye’ gland to realms of higher consciousness. “It’s the stuff that’s a part of our everyday life and thinking. It only made sense to relay the same virtues we’ve learned from those ideologies into our music. It’s who we are.”

Branded with the name of their ideology, their recent mixtape alternates between old school hip-hop and on-trend dirty south rap. Although they lay down beats that come veiled in a spacey haze, the duo eschews the languid flow of cloud rap, instead churning out furious bars, so quickly that they’re literally spitting.

This is, no doubt, a twosome that won’t be underperforming for very much longer. But what are their Third Eyes seeing right now? “Mine’s high as shit,” laughs Issa, “and his is still asleep…”

Words: Felicity Martin
Photography: Dom Smith

Where: Flatbush, New York
What: Tripped-out, experimental hip-hop and dirty south rap beats
Get 3 Songs: ‘Herb Shuttles’, ‘T.A.D.E.D’, ‘Gold Soul Theory’
Unique fact: Issa’s favourite ever artist is John Mayer – as well as having ‘Mayer’ inked on his body, he knows the words to every single track of his.

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