Flatbush Zombies are the MC duo of Darko and Juice with producer Erick Arc Elliott who dropped their first official mixtape D.R.U.G.S. in the second half of 2012. While the talk of papers, smoke, and sour diesel might lead you to write them off as another stoner hip-hop act, there is a lot more depth to this NY crew than you might expect. These guys drop some pretty emotional, true words mixed with enough fun to appeal to the current rap-fans without turning off people (like me) that can’t stand mainstream hip-hop and “radio rap”. They talk regularly about their philosophy behind their crew’s name and the mixtapes title.
Elliot: “When you try to make music too structured and spend too much time perfecting it, it strips away the feeling… there’s a time for perfection, but with hip hop right now people just want to know how you feel. They want to have this other side that is not timid or shy, they want to be Zombies.”
Darko: “I live by D.R.U.G.S., which stands for ‘death and reincarnation under god’s supervision.’ I fully believe we’ve been here before. I died when I was 16—that was the first time I did shrooms. I got hit in the face with reality. After all the years of brainwashing and bullshit, that trip really woke me up. That’s when I became a zombie.”
The big thing for me beyond the overall fun and interesting vocals and lyrics is the production of the music. The beats are very diverse and often include synth sounds not usually found in hip-hop, but in no way out of place. It creates a perfect atmosphere for 16 bar pieces that don’t lose anything by regularly lacking hooks. For some great examples of the production skills I recommend jumping to the middle of the mixtape and checking out “Laker Paper”, “Fun Song”, “Friday”, and “Thug Waffle”. The video for Thug Waffle has been making the rounds and getting these guys some of acknowledgment this crew needs, so check the link at the bottom to watch.
Bottom line: Darko’s talent, Juices cool voice, and the genius that is Erick Ark Elliott make up one of the most interesting groups in hip-hop today. This is defiantly a project to look out for in the future, so go grab the free mixtape and enjoy.
Respect the vest!