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The Underachievers is an American hip hop duo from Flatbush, Brooklyn, New York, formed in 2011. The group is composed of East Coast rappers AK and Issa Gold. American record producer Flying Lotus signed the duo to his Brainfeeder record label in 2012. Following their signing they released two critically acclaimed mixtapes, Indigoism and Lords of Flatbush in 2013. Their debut studio album Cellar Door: Terminus Ut Exordium was released on August 12, 2014.History2007-2010: Early beginningsIssa Gold and AK grew up just a few blocks from each other in Flatbush, Brooklyn. The duo first met in 2007, after AK's friend Jacob brought Gold to his house one day to smoke marijuana, where they clicked instantly and discussed psychedelic drugs, which they would later do together along with Juice and Meechy of Flatbush Zombies.2011-2012: Career beginnings, signing to BrainfeederAK began rapping at the age of eleven, later on in high school he would work under the stage name The Underachiever. Issa Gold started rapping much later, not taking it seriously until around late 2011. The duo then began making music together under the name "The Underachievers" after a producer pushed them to work together, which resulted in them forming the group. Gold explained the name saying, "I feel like the things that we do could be considered underachieving, like we smoke pot. People would probably meet us at first and be like, They're probably just potheads. And then they'll talk to me, or talk to AK, and be like, 'alright, they're intelligent.' So it's just a flip on that. Like, The Underachievers, even though technically we're doing underachiever things, we're bringing positive energy."In May 2012, they released their first music video for the song "So Devilish." Following the videos release they began gaining attention quickly, with their second officially released song "Gold Soul Theory" getting played on BBC Radio in August 2012, even though they had yet to sign a recording contract. Their music was also passed on to record producer Flying Lotus, who the following day flew them out to Los Angeles to meet them the day after they talked for the first time. After they met a few times and performed a few shows for him, he signed them to his Brainfeeder record label. Flying Lotus said he already wanted to sign the duo after listening to one song for only 20 seconds. Around the same time they signed they released their third music video for "Herb Shuttles", which has gotten over eight million views on YouTube. Around mid-2012, The Underachievers, Pro Era and Flatbush Zombies formed the New York hip hop supergroup Beast Coast.2013: Indigoism and Lords of FlatbushThe duo released their first official mixtape Indigoism on February 1, 2013, via Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder record label. Indigoism featured psychedelic lyrics, allusions to the third eye and spirituality. The mixtape was met with very positive reviews from music critics upon its release, including by BBC. On March 13, 2013, The Underachievers released "No Religion", their first collaboration with Flatbush Zombies. Following the release of Indigoism they toured North America and Australia with Joey Badass, Pro Era and Flatbush Zombies from March 21 until April 20, 2013. On July 19, 2013, Indigoism was released to iTunes for retail sale.On August 20, 2013, they released the first song from their second mixtape Lords of Flatbush, "Leaving Scraps". The following day they released their first retail single "The Proclamation" to iTunes. On August 29, 2013, The Underachievers released Lords of Flatbush, a nine track mixtape featuring production primarily by Lex Luger, along with Flatbush Zombie's Erik Arc Elliot and EFF.DOPE. Issa Gold explained the mixtape saying, "This tape is mostly bangers. All the lyrical conscious expanding knowledge filled magical triple optic shit will have to wait for the upcoming album." Lords of Flatbush was also met with positive critical reception. Stereogum named Lords of Flatbush their mixtape of the week the week of its release. XXL gave the mixtape a 4 out of 5 saying, "This project from The Underachievers may not be as deep and reflective as Indigoism, but it has its high points and serves as a step forward with the group. With a captivating performance in the final half of the tape, the Lords of Flatbush will surely have fans on the edge of their seat for their upcoming album." On September 14, 2013, they released the music video for "N.A.S.A.".2013-present: Cellar Door: Terminus Ut ExordiumFrom October 17, through November 30, 2013, The Underachievers will tour with Joey Badass, Pro Era, Ab-Soul, and Chevy Woods, among others on the fourth annual "The Smokers Club Tour". On November 19, 2013, Issa Gold confirmed that The Underachievers would be releasing their debut album The Cellar Door in early 2014. He also revealed that they would begin The Cellar Door Tour in April 2014. Then in December 2013, The Underachievers were featured on Talib Kweli's sixth studio album Gravitas, on the song "New Leaders".On January 28, 2014, Issa Gold updated saying that the album would be released by April 2014, however, it was eventually pushed back to August 12, 2014 now retitled Cellar Door: Terminus Ut Exordium.The Underachievers released Cellar Door: Terminus Ut Exordium after mixtape releases from Issa Gold and AK, respectively. Issa Gold released his mixtape, Conversations with a Butterfly and AK released his mixtape, Blessings in the Grey to help build hype for their new album. Shortly after the album dropped, The Underachievers announced a two month tour with fellow "Beast Coast" members The Flatbush Zombies, as Clockwork Indigo. This tour will be named Electric Koolaid ExperienceMusical style and influenceTheir musical style is based around old school New York hip hop and psychedelic hip hop. Psychedelic drugs such as acid and shrooms have a significant effect on their musical style. Issa Gold credits Lupe Fiasco and Kanye West as his greatest musical influences. The group also significantly listens to other genres of music, with Gold saying his favorite artist is John Mayer.Personal lifeIssa Gold's family is from Guyana. AK's family is originally from Trinidad. His father is a corrections officer, and his mother is a nurse.Gold was very good childhood friends with Zombie Juice of Flatbush Zombies, as they grew up in the same building in Flatbush, Brooklyn. He also has known Meechy from Zombies since they were 12 years old. He did acid for the first time at the young age of fourteen. Both members of The Underachievers are good friends with the members of Flatbush Zombies, and Pro Era.Content: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Underachievers
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The Pro Era movement that DJ-producer Powers Pleasant co-founded has been going strong since it first grabbed the attention of boom-bap tastemakers and new-school backpackers in 2012. But the Brooklyn-bred collective broke new ground thanks to "Devastated," the Joey Badass anthem that was co-produced by Kirk Knight, Adam Pallin, and Pleasant himself.
Powers has already shown his rhythmic gifts and versatility throughout his short discography, which features a style that moves through stadium-status accessibility and colorful, Neptunes-like synths. That free-flowing style has more eyes on Powers than ever, but he doesn't feel much pressure. After all, he was born for this.
The future hitmaker grew up in Clinton Hill and Fort Greene, Brooklyn neighborhoods known for breeding the likes of Erykah Badu, Mos Def, and Talib Kweli. Powers remembers attending his jazz drummer father's gigs since he was a baby: "I think the first time I learned to walk was at one of his gigs." His mother, a dancer, introduced him to the eclectic sounds of the Neptunes—his main influence when it comes to production.
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Jo-Vaughn Virginie Scott (born January 20, 1995), better known by his stage name Joey Badass (stylized as Joey Bada$$), is an American hip hop recording artist and actor.
Raised in Bed-Stuy, a neighbourhood of Brooklyn in New York City, he is a founding member of the hip-hop collective Pro Era, with whom he has released three mixtapes. He released his debut mixtape, 1999, in June 2012 to critical acclaim and recognition, followed by Rejex in September, and Summer Knights on July 1, 2013. His debut studio album, B4.DA.$$, was released January 20, 2015. In July 2016, he made his television debut on the USA Network series Mr. Robot.
Jo-Vaughn Virginie Scott was born on January 20, 1995, and was the first of his immediate Caribbean family to be born in the United States. His family originated from the island of St. Lucia in the Caribbean on his mother's side. He is Jamaican on his father's side. He was born in the East Flatbush section of Brooklyn, New York City, New York. He was raised in Bed-Stuy and attended the Edward R. Murrow High School. He originally enrolled at Edward R. Murrow to study acting, but transitioned towards music around the time of 9th grade, with a focus on rapping.
He started rapping under the name "JayOhVee", but eventually changed it to Joey Badass. He says that the name change is due to the media's focus on rappers with more cynical names, saying it was "what sounded cool at the time, what fit [his] mood". Badass claims to have first started writing poetry and songs at the age of 11. Along with CJ Fly, he is a founding member of the collective known as Progressive Era, or Pro Era for short, which was formed by his high school friends Capital Steez and Powers Pleasant.
2010–12: Signing to Cinematic Music
In October 2010, Joey Badass uploaded a video of himself freestyling to YouTube. The video was re-posted on to American hip hop site World Star Hip Hop and caught the attention of Jonny Shipes, the president of Cinematic Music Group, who soon after became his manager.
In early 2012, Joey Badass and Capital Steez released a video for "Survival Tactics" via their YouTube channel "PROfckingERA", which samples the 2000 Fold song of the same name by Styles of Beyond. In February 2012, Pro Era released their debut mixtape entitled The Secc$ Tap.e. On March 21, 2012, MTV News featured Joey Badass' verse from the video during a RapFix Live segment and subsequently appeared as a featured guest on Sucker Free the following month. The song was succeeded with the video premiere of "Hardknock" featuring CJ Fly on MTV2.
2012: 1999 and rise in popularity
On June 12, 2012, Joey Badass released his debut solo mixtape 1999. A video for the song "Waves" was released in June 2012. The mixtape immediately increased his popularity in the underground scene. The mixtape was named the 38th best album of 2012 by Complex Magazine and the best mixtape of 2012 by HipHopDX.com. On September 6 of the same year, he released another mixtape titled Rejex, which featured all the tracks that did not make it on the 1999 mixtape.
Subsequently, American rapper Mac Miller reached out to Joey Badass through Twitter to collaborate. He appeared on the song "America" from the mixtape Macadelic and opened for Miller at the Roseland Ballroom in April 2012. Along with headliner Juicy J, Joey Badass and Pro Era performed on The Smoker's Club's One Hazy Summer Tour, presented by Ecko Unltd. and livemixtapes.com. The 30-date tour began in July 2012. He was featured on the posse cut track "1 Train" off ASAP Rocky's album Long.Live.ASAP (2013) which also features Action Bronson, Kendrick Lamar, Yelawolf, Big K.R.I.T., and Danny Brown.
In December 2012 it was rumored that Joey Badass would be signing to Jay Z's Roc Nation record label, but in January 2013, he dispelled the rumors saying he would rather stay independent than sign to a major label for the time being. On December 21, 2012, Pro Era released the P.E.E.P: The aPROcalypse mixtape.
2013: Summer Knights
On November 9, 2012, Joey Badass released a track with Ab-Soul produced by Lee Bannon called "Enter the Void" along with "Waves". These songs were his first official releases to retail. On January 14, 2013, he released the first single off his second mixtape, Summer Knights, "Unorthodox", which is produced by DJ Premier. On February 8, he released a music video featuring Big K.R.I.T. and Smoke DZA titled "Underground Airplay". "Underground Airplay" was featured on the Eckō Unltd. mixtape. On March 5, 2013 he released the music video for "Unorthodox". On March 21, 2013, he begun the Beast Coast concert tour with Pro Era, The Underachievers and Flatbush Zombies. On March 26, 2013, it was announced that Joey Badass would be a part of XXL Magazine's 2013 Freshman Class.
On October 29, 2013, Summer Knights EP was released. It featured four songs from the mixtape of the same name, and three new songs including a remix. Upon release, the EP debuted at number 48 on the US Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.
In August 2014, Joey Badass appeared in a quasi-autobiographical short film entitled No Regrets, directed by Rik Cordero, in which he portrays himself. In an interview on Shade 45 Radio in March 2016, he explained that "it's been my dream to act since I was in like eighth grade. I always wanted to be an actor. And I feel like the music just made it a little bit easier for me to chase that dream."
On August 4, 2014, he released the first single from his upcoming debut studio album titled "Big Dusty" with the music video coming out 8 days later. On September 30, he premiered the second single from the album titled "Christ Conscious" on MTV Jams. The third single from the album entitled "No. 99" was released on December 9. On December 23, the fourth single, "Curry Chicken" was released. On January 13 appearing on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, he performed the song "Like Me" live with BJ the Chicago Kid, The Roots and Statik Selektah. On January 20, 2015, his 20th birthday, the album entitled B4.DA.$$ was released to critical acclaim.
On September 3, 2015, Joey Badass released a collaborative single with Korean hip-hop group Epik High's Tablo and producer Code Kunst called "Hood". On October 6, 2015, he collaborated with British indie rock band Glass Animals, releasing a single titled "Lose Control".
On March 4, 2016, Joey Badass made his television debut in the second season of the hit TV series Mr. Robot, where he was cast in the recurring role of Leon, who is a close neighbourhood friend of Elliot (played by Rami Malek). On May 26, 2016, he released another single called "Devastated".
In an interview with XXL, Joey Badass stated that he is influenced by Nas, Tupac Shakur, Black Thought, MF DOOM, J Dilla, Andre 3000, Jay-Z, and Notorious B.I.G.. He has also been compared to Nas during his Illmatic era.
In January 2015, Joey Badass was arrested and charged with assault for allegedly breaking a security guard's nose before performing at the Falls Festival in Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia.
Feud with Troy Ave
In June 2015, tensions between Joey Badass and fellow Brooklyn native Troy Ave began brewing after the former declared himself the "#1 independent hip hop artist/brand in the world" in a series of tweets. Troy Ave responded in another tweet by pointing out that Joey Badass is signed to Cinematic Music Group, whose music is distributed by RED Distribution, a subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment, but Joey Badass later refuted reports of a feud between the two of them.
On July 7, 2015, in an interview with Ebro Darden on Hot 97, Joey Badass had words of praise for Troy Ave, stating: "At some point you gotta [sic] have some level of respect for Troy because, at the end of the day, we're both independent artists who are standing on major platforms next to a whole bunch of major artists and they know who we are." However, in February 2016, he reignited the feud in a single entitled "Ready", where he rapped: "60k, first week for the badass / 200k to this day, I know you niggas mad / With that 80-20 split, my nigga do the math / my nigga Kirk just outsold Troy Ave" (in reference to Kirk Knight's debut studio album Late Knight Special and Troy Ave's second studio album Major Without a Deal).
In response to "Ready", Troy Ave released a diss track entitled "Badass" the following week, in which he not only insulted Joey Badass, but also targeted Capital Steez and his suicide. Following the song's release, Troy Ave defended his actions on Shade 45's Sway in the Morning, stating: "He didn't pass away; he killed himself. There's a difference. He took his own life. God gave you life, it ain't your right to take that. That's a fact. I got niggas in jail who got life sentences, they might as well be dead. They could've traded their life for his." He then received heavy criticism from both fans and fellow artists, including A$AP Ant, A$AP Twelvyy and Styles P who wrote, amongst a series of other tweets: "If you never experienced a family [member] committing suicide you have no fukn [sic] idea about that pain. NONE." Troy Ave then replied to Styles P's comments and apologised to his fans on Twitter. In an interview on VladTV, another Brooklyn rapper, Maino, stated that mentioning Capital Steez's suicide in the song was "a bit much".
In a freestyle on Sway in the Morning on March 29, 2016, Joey Badass responded to "Badass" in a series of lines aimed at Troy Ave, though never referring to him directly. Among other lines, he rapped: "I destroy average rappers, it's just practice [...] Men lie, women lie, numbers sure don't / Got the whole beast coast coming for your skull / The karma gon' catch up, your album sales won't". In an interview with HipHopDX the following day, Fat Joe stated that he personally reached out to both Joey Badass and Troy Ave to try and squash the feud, but failed.