4 years ago during the summer of 2012, a lot of things were happening. President Barack Obama was soon to be reelected to a second term, the new Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, NY had been unveiled, and Miami Heat superstar/media punching bag LeBron James had finally won his first NBA championship. This was also the time that I had first discovered this eccentric new Hip-Hop trio from NY named Flatbush Zombies. The first ever track I had heard from the collective was the solo cut by the obnoxious but always exciting Meechy Darko titled “Face-Off” off of their remarkably underrated debut mix tape D.R.U.G.S. and it immediately blew me away.
Not since ODB had I seen a rapper on the swank level of Meech, which was even more surprising when I found out how early into the game he and his bandmates truly were. The video featured Meech and the other two members of the group, Erick Arc Elliot and Zombie Jewice, walking through Flatbush with 40 ounces of Ol’ E in hand spitting outlandish bars such as, “I love weed n**ga/ I got a green thumb/ She F**k me n**ga, until she bleed cum” to a banging instrumental provided by sole producer for the group, Elliot aka The Architect. While their lyrics touch on many different topics such as motherhood, the downfalls of drug addiction, and wavy acid trips, the Zombies have always been praised for their originality as well as their brash attitudes toward the industry as a whole (except A$AP). With two critically acclaimed mix tapes and a few sold out country wide and world tours in their rearview, the young trio has kept it true to their roots of not giving a f**k while also evolving into more mature and well rounded artists, which is not an easy feat for most. Capitalizing off of the immense success from their debut album, 3001: A Laced Odyssey, as well as their acclaimed performance at Tidal‘s X 10/20 concert and their viral appearance on Hip-Hop podcast: Rap Radar, the Brooklyn natives decided to head out on a global tour, starting in the US, which has been sold out at almost every stop.
I got a chance to catch the stars in the making live in action in San Diego at The North Park Observatory on 4/30 and if there’s one thing that is certain about these men, they know how to put on a show. Check out my evening with Flatbush.
Although when artists come to California, they do 4-5 shows in various cities, the stop that every artist always looks forward to is San Diego. Accompanied by an intimate setting with a spacious pit and an overlooking balcony, The North Park Observatory is the perfect venue for artists who want an intimate experience with their fans. “I just wanna let y’all know, San Diego has been my favorite show” said Eric. “And I don’t just say that shit to any venue,” he added after. The excitement from the Zombies was evident from the jump. They started the set off with Jewice channeling his best Bruce Buffer impression and announcing the group as a whole. The first track they played was “The Odyssey,” the opening track from their debut album and they all came out one after another displaying unforgettable energy and precise bars over instrumentals. This was the most impressive part of the show as the Zombies are all known for their machine gun speed flows; especially Jewice. They all 3 hit every bar and every line with the precision of trained snipers. The trio then kicked off fan favorites “Bounce” and “Good Grief” before going into a five minute tribute to the late Capital STEEZ in which they got the crowd to join in on a “RIP Steelo” chant which was then followed by similar tributes to Biggie Smalls and Tupac.
One of the more impressive parts of the show was the amount of detail that was put into the stage props and lighting. The Zombies were accompanied by a screen behind them that was portraying wavy acid inspired art videos the whole night. Though that was trippy in itself, during the song “This Is It,” the lights would flash like strobe lights perfectly on cue with the drum beat. The amount of effort they put into their live shows was very evident as the crew rarely looked gassed or missed a bar as they went from song to song turning up with energy that even Desiigner could appreciate. Also, notable was how well the trio engaged with their fans during the show. I had the pleasure of seeing them in Tempe, Arizona in 2013, and although that show was one of the most fun I’ve been to, the group has definitely grown in this area tremendously. They had their crowd hanging on to their every word, teasing unreleased material and even having everybody turn to their neighbor and say I love you at the end of the show.
I LOVE U SAN DIEGO BEST SHOW EVER pic.twitter.com/polpIuFIez
— Mel (@AsapTwelvyy) May 1, 2016
In total, Flatbush blessed the crowd with about 18-20 songs in total for a fantastically crafted performance. Some of the highlight songs from the show were “RIPCD,” “Fly Away” and “222” which showed Erick rapping acapella at the end of the track. Though those tracks were exciting in their own right, the best three songs from the night by far were “Ignorance Is Bliss,” “New Phone, Who Dis?” and weed-head favorite “Smoke Break (Interlude).” The latter was accompanied by the screen behind the group displaying videos of old white folks taking some mean bong rips, which cued the crowd to light up themselves during the vibey smoker’s anthem. “Ignorance Is Bliss” and “New Phone, Who Dis?” were incredibly live though, and were without a doubt the highlights from the evening with the trio showing out their best dance moves and culminating with Meech doing a stage dive. The Brooklyn natives even managed to let their political stance be known. “I’m not sure if you guys f**k with politics and pay attention or any of that, but if you want a better future you have to make sure in November, you do NOT vote for Donald Trump” Jewice said to the crowd which was followed by a “F**k Donald Trump chant” that was sang in unison as if it was part of the Zombie discography.
The energy was incredible, the smoke was heavy, and the sold out crowd was at the will of the performers, hanging on to every word. My evening with Flatbush was live to say the least; if you’ve never had the chance to see the group in action, you’re missing out. They’re easily one of the best live shows in Hip-Hop right now, and with them selling out almost every stop on their tour, good luck finding a ticket. Take a look at some of the photos taken from the show and check out the rest of the tour dates below to catch the tour in your city. Also, be sure to check out 3001: A Laced Odyssey in stores now and available on iTunes, Spotify, and of course Tidal.
- The Odyssey
- Good Grief
- Glorious Thugs
- This Is It
- Fly Away
- Smoke Break (Interlude)
- Trade Off
- New Phone, Who Dis?
- Unreleased Song
- Ignorance Is Bliss
- Don’t Do Drugs
- Bath Salt
- Palm Trees
- Thug Waffle
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