Flatbush Zombies | Vacation in Hell
For those unfamiliar with the Brooklyn-based trio, Flatbush Zombies are comprised of Meechy Darko, Eric the Arc or Architect Elliot and Zombie Juice. Eric had previously released music before bringing the group together back in 2010. Following a string of trippy mixtapes, they released their debut album 3001: A Laced Odyssey in 2016 and haven’t slowed down since. Though they are based in the mecca of Hip Hop, the New York group’s unique blend of sounds laced with Eric’s production skills have allowed them to flourish alongside the likes of A$AP MOB and Pro ERA.
The intro to the album is a wakeup call to the industry by Flatbush that echoes with 808’s and an infusion of a lighter version of their notorious trippy sound. “HELL-O” is a mainstream approach to Zombie’s psychedelic-rap sound that isn’t a step backward creatively. The intro is used as a tool to address the state of Hip Hop and where they stand; “F*ck all the mumblerap/this that skullie little rumble rap” Darko raps.
The intro is a stark contrast to the second track, “Chunky,” which has a more peaceful sound which fits each of the members perfectly. Additional female vocals bring a sort of calm to the storm. The song also features some of Elliot’s best lines and production, which also stands out on tracks such as “M. Bison” and “Big Shrimp”
Elliot takes influence from the ‘90s while crafting “Headstone, ” a track that will have you reminiscing of old Mob Deep, Wu-Tang Clan and 1996’s The Firm. Referring to artists such as Immortal Technique, Lil Wayne, the Hot Boyz and Notorious B.I.G, Flatbush marks the name in stone. Juice’s lyric flow on the track is a brief but definite highlight of the song.
“Ask Courtney” has the group in full synergy, going back and forth with each other without hesitation. The song has a psychedelic feel, especially after the 1:25 transition. Like Nightmare on Wax, Elliot knows how to use instruments to change the course of a track. From a bongo-backed heartbreak song to a discussion on the socioeconomic state of minority communities in the country, Flatbush helps bridge the gaps through song.
The band Portugal the Man make a welcome appearance on “Crown”. The track blends John Gourley’s vocals perfectly on the chorus. Flatbush, however, seems more in the element than ever on this song. The trio bring their trippiest lyrics and pack them into one of the best cross-genre collaborations released this year. “We can't help it, it's perpetual motion /It's just a drop in the ocean/ My crown of thorns in the city of roses,” the band’s chorus on the track, adds an angelic feel to the trippiness.
Regardless of how you feel about psychedelic music, whether it be rock or rap, Flatbush Zombies has crafted one of the most exciting albums this year and will be taking over your radio airwaves shortly.