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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 underachieving by mainstream society. Their curiosity for psychedelics bled through into a somewhat trippy sound that combined frantic rhyme styles with heavy, experimental production. A video for one of the duo's early tracks caught the attention of critically acclaimed producer Flying Lotus, who signed the group to his label Brainfeeder Records in 2012 and released two of their mixtapes the next year. Proper debut full-length Cellar Door: Terminus Ut Exordium saw release in August of 2014.
The Underachievers are rappers AK and Issa Gold, both Flatbush, Brooklyn natives and members of the Beast Coast Movement who came together in 2012. Hailed as influential players in the new New York wave of rappers, the tag-team burst onto the scene with conscious rhymes in Oxford vocab over progressive beats while maintaining the true school era foundation they grew up on. Issa and AK didn't start rhyming together until years after they met. Fast forward from their first conversation – the two bonded about wanting to get into psychedelics – to Issa doing a feature for AK, who at the time was the sole Underachiever. "You guys need to rhyme together," a producer told Issa and AK. Friends of fellow Beast Coast influencers Flatbush Zombies, both rappers had witnessed the critical and collaborative attitude that permeated the group. They believed that finding that environment, that willingness to work, would be the key to doing it right. Now as one, the Underachievers boast two critically-acclaimed mixtapes (Indigoism and Lords of Flatbush) and their debut album Cellar Door – Terminus Ut Exordium. Loved by fans and critics alike, the duo's viral sensations "So Devilish," "Gold End Theory" and "Herb Shuttles" prove they're hitting the mark between genre-bending and mass appeal dead on. Following collaborations with Brainfeeder label head and legendary producer Flying Lotus, a popular five-track EP with Flatbush Zombies, and a sold-out headlining tour across North America, Europe, and Canada, The Underachievers are gearing up to spread more positivity through their notoriously high energy live shows. Their anticipated sophomore album Evermore: The Art of Duality is set for release in the fall of 2015 via RPM MSC. The project is a mature and autobiographical manifesto of the UA lifestyle past and present.
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Joseph Abajian (DJ Jab) founded Fat Beats in 1994 with nothing more than a shoestring budget and an earnest obsession with the music, the culture, and the brotherhood of New York’s burgeoning rap scene. What began as a simple vinyl shop in Manhattan’s Lower East Side quickly became an integral hub for artists, both aspiring and established, to convene and collaborate on new projects. Joseph’s timing couldn’t have been more impeccable. When the 90’s cultural zeitgeist – and, in turn, the music industry establishment – chose hip-hop as its new arbiter of cool.
International tourists and touring artists alike flocked to Fat Beats for rare vinyl, kindred spirits, and exclusive in-store performances from Jay Z, Eminem, Gang Starr, Outkast, Slum Village, Mos Def, and more. One thing was clear: the Fat Beats phenomenon could no longer be contained in a single basement shop.
In the late nineties, Abajian proceeded to open new stores in Amsterdam, Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. He further expanded the company’s profile to include global distribution and record label branches. Distribution has since proven to be the company’s strongest and most enduring enterprise. Today Fat Beats Distribution stands poised as one of the country’s pre-eminent distributors of vinyl & specialty item records: a proud survivor in an industry now famous for its mortality rate. Despite market fluctuations, technology innovations, and stylistic revolutions, Fat Beats has remained steadfast in its commitment to the timeless vinyl format and to the loyal community who keeps it spinning.
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