This week’s Ones To Watch again takes us back to the burgeoning scene that is bringing New York rap back to the forefront of the hip-hop genre. With A$AP representing Harlem and World’s Fair holding down Queens, Brooklyn needed a crew to represent the new school New York sound. Enter the Flatbush Zombies…
Comprising of rap duo Meech and Juice, alongside producer Erick Arc Elliot, the Zombies are representing Brooklyn in the current uprising of new school New York hip hop. With Erick and Meech having lived on the same block and known each other since the age of four, and Erick later meeting Juice in high school, the crew formed naturally around friendships and they began rapping together as a hobby rather than aiming for a career.
Not wanting to be labelled ‘Weed Rap’ the trio take in a diverse range of influences as well as their drug experimentation, from obvious hip hop idols like Notorious B.I.G, Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg and Busta Rhymes, to Zombie films and less obvious musical inspiration such as Jimi Hendrix, Portishead, Coldplay, Rick James and Etta James. Speaking to Complex magazine they explain:
“Unfortunately, with the genre of music we do, we can’t be full hip hop. You have to be hip hop/this.” Adding, “It strips you of just being hip hop.”
Whilst many might take the term ‘Zombie’ to describe the aftermath of a drug-fuelled binge that they seem to regularly partake in, they see it as their rebirth and reawakening musically; the acronym title of their mixtape being Death and Reincarnation Under God’s Supervision. Leaving the fans to decipher what the meaning, but one thing’s for sure, the zombies definitely have a unique sound.
Initially appearing on the scene with their Thug Waffle named from a conversation they had about Tupac whilst eating breakfast which, despite Juice initially hating the song, garnered huge online hype and this was maintained when they followed up with a further three singles. Despite having had most of the songs (including Face Off which seemed to be a response to the ‘zombie’ incident in Miami) recorded for well over a year, the group had no real plan to release them as a mixtape, and just let them off online as and when they thought there was a demand for it.
Having released their debut mixtape last week, and already with major label interest, the Zombies are set up as definite ones to watch. And the output doesn’t stop there, with Erick (who also raps) dropping his solo effort Been Here Before next month, Juice and Meech featured on A$AP Mob’s new single Bath Salt, and with Juice working on a mixtape alongside Remy Banks of World’s Fair and A$AP Ant, the trio are names that will stick around
Words by Grant Brydon
Edited by Natalia
Mixtape download: http://www.flatbushzombies.com