- Underachievers_004BKLYN Stickup opens the show (Photo: Lauren Gesswein)
- Underachievers_008Dillon Cooper (Photo: Lauren Gesswein)
- Underachievers_009Dillon Cooper (Photo: Lauren Gesswein)
- Underachievers_015CJ Fly led Pro Era out on stage (Photo: Lauren Gesswein)
- Underachievers_013Joey Bada$$ on stage with Pro Era (Photo: Lauren Gesswein)
- Underachievers_014Joey Bada$$ (Photo: Lauren Gesswein)
- Underachievers_016CJ Fly (Photo: Lauren Gesswein)
- Underachievers_022Pro Era (Photo: Lauren Gesswein)
- Underachievers_023(Photo: Lauren Gesswein)
- Underachievers_028Issa Gold of the Underachievers (Photo: Lauren Gesswein)
- Underachievers_026Juice from Flatbush Zombies sneaks on stage for a five-second cameo (Photo: Lauren Gesswein)
- Underachievers_030The Underachievers (Photo: Lauren Gesswein)
- Underachievers_032(Photo: Lauren Gesswein)
- Underachievers_033AK of the Underachievers (Photo: Lauren Gesswein)
- Underachievers_037The Underachievers on stage with Pro Era at the end of the show (Photo: Lauren Gesswein)
It was a Beast Coast celebration last night at Santos Party House, as Flatbush’s The Underachievers were the headliners at Noisey’s Rap Party in New York, but they didn’t come alone—CJ Fly flew the flag for Pro Era, while Dillon Cooper and the BKLYN Stickup crew opened the dynamic night.
The all-ages show led to a couple questionable moments for the sold-out crowd—before the doors opened, some kids were yelling toward Joey Bada$$ comparing the X’s on their hands, while at least one was throwing up in the line to get in—but things smoothed out once the show heated up. BKLYN Stickup, with their mob-like approach to stage presence, certainly fit in to the crew-based model that seems to be dominating the New York hip-hop scene at the moment, while Cooper staked a claim for attention in the suddenly crowded Brooklyn underground.
It was a new sight to see someone other than Joey Bada$$ leading the Pro Era collective on stage, but CJ Fly was the billed performer on the evening, and he MC’d his way through a number of the PE conglomerate’s PEEP: aPROcalypse tracks, including the Statik Selektah-produced “Like Water.” Joey was there, as was the rest of the crew, and he got the biggest pop from the crowd, but he was mostly content to let others step forward. After the passing of Capital STEEZ last winter, CJ seems the most likely to follow in Joey’s footsteps out of the shadow of the group—much like A$AP Ferg is doing up in Harlem with the A$AP Mob—though he’s yet to drop a full tape. Joey, for that matter, is still working on his debut album, so maybe it’s too soon to look too far ahead on that front.
The Underachievers are one of the three biggest Beast Coast groups—alongside the Era and Flatbush Zombies, who made a brief, seconds-long cameo on stage during UA’s set—but they seem to be caught in the middle a bit, not as lyrically adept as Joey and co. and without the fierce and reckless identity cultivated by the Zombies. But they fit in regardless, even if they don’t stand out too boldly, and their set followed a similar narrative. Dropping tracks like “Herb Shuttles” mixed in with their new single “Leaving Scraps,” Issa Gold and AK put in a solid shift as headliners, joined at the end by Pro Era and reveling in the adoration of the younger crowd. The show, though sold out, didn’t really reflect their status as headliners, but served to build anticipation for UA’s next project The Lords of Flatbush, which is due out soon. If Flatbush keeps pumping out solid and improving acts like these, somebody needs to test the water in that neighborhood.