Straight outta flatbush4/6/2016
As far as the rap persona goes, Flatbush Zombies are a bit of an outlier. The idea of getting high is nothing new to hip-hop. But while the Zombies still rap about getting high, its drug(s) of choice are more pharmacological in nature: molly, mushrooms and acid, all of which have been topics of conversation for the band.
As more rappers start to be open in their music about their use of psychedelics, the Zombies consider themselves to have been on the cutting edge of the movement.
“You know what’s funny about it?” front man Meechy Darko asks rhetorically. “Two years ago, most rappers wouldn’t even talk about a molly or even know what that was. You know exactly what I mean, and everybody knows what I’m talking about. I won’t say names or anyone like that, but you know who it is. I can’t tell you why. All I know is I dropped a tape called “D.R.U.G.S.” not too long ago, and now n—-s rap about acid.”
Far from being a one-trick pony, however, the Zombies’ rhymes are incisive and quick to cover sociopolitical topics like poverty and life growing up in Flatbush, Brooklyn.
“Sometimes we say things, and it gets overlooked,” Meechy said. “We say brilliant things all the time, and people just want to hear about a beautiful metaphor about how I rolled up this weed good. When I talk about where I came from or the struggles I dealt with, people just overlook that. They don’t care about that. If you listen to our music, I talk about it all the time. People just only want to talk about weed, psychedelics and crazy shit. People never really understand that we came from the ghetto. We came from a struggle.”
It’s an interesting dichotomy. The Zombies rap about drug use, because it’s what they know. It also happens to be the thing that has given them the lion’s share of their recognition. And yet, they will admit that the more they talk about tripping on acid, the more any social message gets obfuscated in public perception.
“Erick and Juice made a song about their mothers,” Meechy says, using his group mates as examples. “I made a song about doing drugs. More people are touched by me popping acid than this guy talking about not having his mother in his life, and this guy talking about his struggles with his mother. If that doesn’t prove to you the climate of music, then I don’t really know what does.”
And now the Zombies feel like that climate is ready for them. After releasing a couple of independent mix tapes and putting several songs directly on YouTube, the group dropped “3001: A Laced Odyssey” last month. Its first fill-length album, “3001,” covers all the topics you would expect from the Zombies, showing the group has no intention of altering its point of view in an effort to sell a few more copies. And, in the long term, the Zombies remain bullish on the future.
“I want to win a GRAMMY, man, and that’s gonna happen,” Meechy said. “I know they say that’s a bad thing to say, but I think that the music that we put out for free is enough to show people that we can sell an album. We’ve done so much individually and independently. I don’t really think much will stop us. That’s what I foresee.” CV