Flatbush Zombies move through the rap game like a lone stoner at a silent rave listening to Metallica. The Brooklyn trio is a step sideways of the mainstream, with a cult following that has morphed into a full-fledged fan base, and they’re creating music that hasn’t been heard since the Gravediggaz were smart enough to let us in on the joke.
That’s not to say Erick Arc Elliott, Meechy Darko, and Zombie Juice are horrorcore novelties. They’re more of an acquired taste that resonates loudly with the new era of hip hop fans who still embrace lyricism, but are dying for something unique to claim for their decade. 3001: A Laced Odyssey is that unique something.
The record is a haunting odyssey from the jump. Cinematic production is handled end to end by Erick The Architect and pairs well with polar opposite flows and verses from all three MC’s. “Bounce” features piano tinkering and uncomfortable guitar picking resulting in a tireless blend of violence and euphoria, a contradictory tone that defines the entire album.
Flatbush Zombies take center stage for their own science fiction hip hop exorcism on 3001. It’s as unrelenting and refreshing as you’d expect from a group who spaces out their releases and constantly pushes boundaries, while ingesting as many chemicals as their frames will allow.
“A Spike Lee Joint” and “Ascension” are venomous, featuring some of the hardest bars the crew has to offer, including Meech wailing, “I have ascended, I’m trying to be better than God, what the fuck am I saying, I ain’t even entered my prime”.
Maturity creeps in on “Trade-Off”, an ode to finding the balance between work and play. That theme guides 3001: A Laced Odyssey. On one hand you have a trio of admitted weirdos who are content to make their racket and smoke that loud. But carelessness comes to end the minute the tours get bigger, the festival offers pile up, and the name becomes more of a brand. That minute is now, as the Zombies are poised for a massive 2016. It just so happens their debut record is a coming of age manifesto plotting new beginnings and the turbulent waters ahead. All hail the glorious dead.