Fun Fun Fun Fest Live Shot: Flatbush Zombies

Alternate Wu-Tang Clan or Beastie Boys?

Fun Fun Fun Fest Live Shot: Flatbush Zombies
photo by Shelley Hiam

It speaks to hip-hop’s deeply ambiguous commercial moment that Flatbush Zombies, a trio of chittering alt-rap mutants, can convincingly fill a festival slot without a tangible release. The traditional path looks pretty quaint in 2013. Having built a mini-legacy off two mixtapes, the Zombies are the trend, not the exception.

This crew earns its keep. Unlike nearly every other upstart rap act with a bit of critical shine, the Brooklyn crew seems entirely interested in performing for an audience. Maybe we’re setting the bar low, but honestly, anyone associated with hip-hop that’s put more than five minutes into their live set-up vastly out-works their peers.

The smudgy mix and boneless flow was thankfully kept at bay. There was a pit at this show. If you’re familiar with the general blandness of the mid-afternoon festival-rap experience, you’ll know that pits don’t really happen.

When they’re set out in front of you, the Zombies look a lot like the Wu-Tang Clan. They sport the same swampy, time-worn production, both wound with stark paranoia – “Fuck fans! Fuck friends! Fuck family! Fuck pussy! Fuck drugs! Fuck sanity! I don’t give a shit! Ignorance is bliss!” – but more importantly, they share the philosophy that great characters brought together in unity can make for something transcendent.

Between their yips, growls, and street-chic fashion, MCs Zombie Juice, Erick the Architect, and Meechy Darko probably have enough firepower for three distinct solo careers. Yet their energy crackles under the same flag. Never underestimate the power of three best friends rapping.

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