Need the facts about a hip-hop artist? Here’s a cheat sheet.
Who: Flatbush Zombies (Meechy Darko and Zombie Juice in the particular) hail from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Flatbush. They are not actually undead, though the duo partakes so commonly in hallucinogenic derangement as to have a hard time making this distinction.
After trickling onto the national hip-hop scene earlier this year with a video clip for the track “Thug Waffle,” Flatbush Zombies proceeded to release the solidly entertaining D.R.U.G.S. mixtape, establishing the chops of Mssrs. Darko and Juice, as well as earning some plaudits for production partner Erick Arc Elliott.
Whereas the druggy wilds of weed and cocaine have been thoroughly colonized by rappers of yore, Flatbush Zombies is perhaps the first hip-hop act to take acid as its principle muse. The upshot of abusing this particular substance is music that is odd, but still possessed of a solid grip of its pop fundamentals. Darko and Juice have translated this auditory aesthetic into their overall appearance. They dress fashionably in distressed skater gear, with knotty, stoner’s dreadlocks trailing from scalp and chin. They are fond of sporting gold fangs.
Both the internet-approved success of D.R.U.G.S. (which stands for “Death and Reincarnation Under God’s Supervision,” btw) and some high-profile collaborations with NYC breakout star A$AP Rocky have made Flatbush Zombies a hot ticket, though the group remains as of yet unsigned.
The Sound: When you include Elliott in the mix, Flatbush Zombies offer a remarkably complete package.
Elliott’s beats trend toward banging synthesizers and pop pyrotechnics, but hold back at crucial moments, allowing Darko and Juice the joy of pop hooks along with the freedom of trip-hop oddity.
The MCs themselves also strike an admirable balance. Darko spits lyrics in a quavering yelp while Juice offers mellifluous verses delivered in an uninterrupted flow.
Thematically, the Zombies maintain a steady interest in drugs (duh), as well as women, money (to a lesser extent) and reincarnation.
Essential listening: “Thug Waffle,” the single that begat Flatbush Zombies’ brief relationship with fame, features more weed and more waffles than are healthy for any one (or two) people to consume.
On “Bath Salt,” from A$AP Mob’s Lord$ Never Worry mixtape, Flatbush Zombies steal the show from no lesser an MC than A$AP Rocky.
“S.C.O.S.A.” is the most aggressive offering from D.R.U.G.S., in addition to being the best piece of evidence in support of the argument that Flatbush Zombies’ natural habitat is an abandoned Brooklyn-area warehouse.