By Camila Leon
For those paying any attention in 2012, New York was amidst a hip hop breakthrough that it hadn't seen since the early 90s with rappers such as Nas and Jay Z.
2012 brought upon burgeoning acts like A$AP Rocky and his Harlem mob, French Montana, Brooklyn rapper Joey Bada$$ and his collective Pro era and Action Bronson. And among all those came a three-man group from a small neighborhood called Flatbush: The Flatbush Zombies.
Like many of New York’s breakthrough acts, the Flatbush Zombies take listeners back to that 90s hip hop feel, exemplifying older rappers like Ol' Dirty Bastard (ODB), gravediggaz and Wu Tang Clan. However, they definitely put their own spin on these rappers’ styles.
The Flatbush Zombies defined their visionary sound in their 2012 debut mixtape “D.R.U.G.S.”, in which they showcased their raspy and grotesque voices that gave them an edge. Before they knew it, their unique sound led them to a few breakout singles and a fan base they never had.
After their debut mixtape, they took a break and didn't give their fans anything new until the 2014 collaboration “Clockwork Indigo” with fellow Brooklyn act The Underachievers. While the album was still commendable and one of a kind, it didn't showcase enough of the Flatbush Zombies in the way they came out in 2012, thus creating another talented rap group that couldn't get traction.
It wasn't until March of 2016 that the Flatbush Zombies stepped back out on the scene in a way that no one imagined. With their long awaited debut album “3001: A Laced Odyssey”, the Flatbush Zombies have made their mark and said they are here to stay.
The album once again features the dark rasp and grotesque feel they gave off in 2012, but they've also learned how to change up their style with less “hype” songs like “Fly Away”, which is carried by its slow beats, bars and melody. That's not to say the album does not feature more fast paced songs like “Bounce” and “Trade Off”— “3001: A Laced Odyssey” is a mix of both.
Even in many of the faster paced, lyric heavy songs, the beat and melody starts off slow and mellow and picks up as the song develops. They even stuck to the 90s hip hop feel they gave off in 2012, with songs like “Good Grief” ft. Diamanté, who rehashes some throwback Aaliyah riffs. But the real star song on “3001: A Laced Odyssey” is “R.I.P.C.D.”, a flawless tribute to days past that once again gives off a 90s feel along with the catchy chant, "RIP to the CD can't even play my hits"-- a metaphor for how they see themselves in today's rap game.
The Flatbush Zombie’s talent is obvious, and each member brings something different to the group. Meechy Darko fills the role of the top dog, Zombie Juice has the sharpest word play and Erick "The Architect" cleans up the lyrics, although he is more well known for producing the tracks.
Unlike much of music today, Flatbush Zombies stay original, which is why much of their music is missing the repetitive, money making hooks. The group knows exactly who they are, so they don't give you anything less than that, no surprises.
“3001: A Laced Odyssey” does a good job of reminding everyone of the Flatbush Zombie’s sharp lyrics. What they lack in hit single potential they make up for in natural talent, and their weirdness is a big selling point. They're dedicated, but right now they are in a rap “half-life”, where they're too good to be unknown but not distinctive enough to be famous. For now, they have a good album under their belt. Fans will just have to watch out for their next move.