Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Flatbush Zombies at Webster Hall's Grand Ballroom

Meechy Darko
Rappers Meechy Darko, Zombie Juice and Erick "The Architect" Elliott, all of Jamaican descent, have been friends since they bonded over the Japanese anime Dragon Ball Z in grade school in the largely West Indian Flatbush section of Brooklyn, New York. They formed the rap trio Flatbush Zombies in 2010, releasing two popular mixtapes and several music videos, rapidly building a following for the Brooklyn-based hip hop movement known as "Beast Coast." A debut album, 3001: A Laced Odyssey, was released on March 11, 2016.

Flatbush Zombies' two sold out tour-closing nights at Webster Hall's Grand Ballroom were a study in what makes the Brooklyn trio unique in a world cluttered with would-be rappers. What attracted a packed hall full of white youth to see three Black Jamaicans perform? Why did the venue reek of marijuana from the first rap to the last? What was this message from the rappers to "open your mind" all about? There might not be any clear answers to these questions, but this might have been a warm-up to Flatbush Zombies leading its followers into a zombie apocalypse. A booming prerecorded voice introduced Flatbush Zombies, saying "in a world full of haters stands a single group who clearly separate themselves from the rest. Appearing on stage without a live band, rapping to pre-recorded tracks, Flatbush Zombies traded vocals in front of a screen that showed anime and psychedelic kaleidoscopic images as audience members chanted along and bounced their raised hands to the rhythms. The show veered away from the typical gangsta culture, although the trio did acknowledge several fallen fellow emcees early in the show. Otherwise, the raps dealt with topical issues, with numerous references to marijuana and other mind-bending experiences. Suburban parents, beware, your children may become disciples of Flatbush Zombies.

Visit the Flatbush Zombies at www.thegloriousdead.com.