(AllHipHop Interviews) The rising Brooklyn Hip Hop renaissance is placing the New York City borough at the center of the rap world once again. The recent attention placed back on the home of legends like Big Daddy Kane, The Notorious B.I.G., Jay Z, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, and many others is partly due to the emergence of the BK trio Flatbush Zombies.
Over the past two years, the Flatbush Zombies have released the two well received mixtapes D.R.U.G.S. and BetterOffDEAD. Meechy Darko, Zombie Juice, and Erick “Arc” Elliott are now planning to drop their debut EP It’s All A Matter Of Perspective later this year. In the meantime, the Beast Coast collective members have been feeding their fan base new music as part of their “Day Of The Dead” weekly series.
AllHipHop.com spoke with Erick and Juice prior to the group’s recent “Converse Rubber Tracks Live” free show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. The creators of “LiT,” “Get Yours,” and “My Team Supreme 2.0” shared their thoughts on why they feel other rappers of their generation have not embraced them, how they would prepare for a zombie apocalypse, when fans can expect the It’s All A Matter Of Perspective EP, and more.
You guys have known each other a long time. Do you remember the first time you heard each other rap?
Erick “Arc” Elliott: The first time I heard Juice rap was probably five or six years ago. We were making a song in my friend’s basement. And Meech, probably before then, but he was on that song too. That night was probably the first time.
Zombie Juice: I heard Erick rap probably nine years ago. He had these friends that used to make beats and rap. That was back when we were in junior high and high school.
You have a long working relationship with Converse. How did that connection start?
E: The first thing we did with them was the Converse ad with [photographer] Ari [Marcopoulos]. He took some great pictures of us. That led to our relationship with Trash Talk. That was kind of the beginning of this whole thing – us going to L.A. shooting a video for a record, expanding the brand, and making people aware. That started about a year ago.
Do you have close associations with any other companies?
J: Flatbush Zombies.
You’re working on your EP. Do you have an idea when that will be released?
E: We don’t have a date yet. But let’s say when the weather changes a lot. Not right now, but when it changes again.
Any particular reason why?
E: There’s no particular reason. We like to do things by season as things feel natural to us. I think as the weather changes we feel like that’s the right time to put it out.
Erick, you did most of the production on your mixtapes. Will there be any other producers that contribute to the EP?
E: Can’t say. Right now it’s working with just me doing it, but I’m open to working with other people. There are certain people that we’ve worked with as far as producers. We know other ones, but I don’t have super big relationships with other producers yet.
I saw an interview where Meech made the point that he felt like artists of your generation don’t support you as much as the veterans. Do you guys feel the same way? If so, why do you think that is?
J: I feel the same way. I don’t think these people really f**k with us that much. I think most of these guys are scared of us. Most of the veterans that we came across appreciate us. That those people appreciate us means a lot to me. That means we’re doing something right if veterans appreciate us.
E: I agree too. I think a lot of people are scared of us. I feel like the veterans see s**t in us that they saw in themselves when they were in our position that we’re in. We’re growing as artists. We’re getting notoriety and recognition. I think that’s why they gravitate toward us. They respect us because we take the s**t seriously, and it’s not some joke.
We love Hip Hop music. Pioneers and legends – that’s what we aspire to become. A lot of these n***as now… I don’t know. I feel like that’s why they’re scared of us, because we take it to the level that we expect ourselves to be the best. So if somebody else is not really with that, then they won’t f**k with us, I guess.
You released the song “My Team Supreme 2.0.” Excluding yourselves, if you’re putting together a five man line-up of emcees who makes your team right now?
J: I don’t really know any new people, but I’d probably put Young Thug as one. Who else we got? Besides our friends… The Underachievers, Pro Era, and A$AP Mob. Our friends, that’s about it.
Speaking of Beast Coast members, I did an interview with Dyme-A-Duzin recently. He said you guys considered him and Phony PPL a part of Beast Coast, but others didn’t. Can you clear up who exactly is a member of the Beast Coast movement?
J: That’s some s**t that Joey Bada$$ and Underachievers created. They put us down, and we ran with it. It’s Pro Era, Underachievers, and Flatbush Zombies as of now. They’ll be more people eventually, but as of right now it’s just us.
E: We went on the actual [Beast Coastal] tour, and I think that’s when Beast Coast was really solidified. Whoever was a part of that tour is probably the immediate members of Beast Coast which is Pro Era, Flatbush Zombies, and Underachievers. That was almost two years ago.
That had to be a pretty epic tour. Do you have any memories or moments that stood out?
J: Probably every single damn day. Every day… from the crazy management to police arrests to beautiful shows, beautiful people. Just everything you can imagine should happen and would happen and shouldn’t happen.
E: I got the Flu on the tour. It f**ked me up. We were on the West Coast somewhere. I think we were in San Francisco. I got the Flu, but I didn’t tap out though.
So you performed sick?
E: All the time.
J: I’m in pain every day.
E: Every day.
J: My body hurts all day long. I’m in pain every f**king day. I had bronchitis when we were on the Beast Coast tour. Speaking of that, I get that s**t every year around 4/20. I have it right now. I’m in pain all day, every day. No s**t. I’m not even lying.
Your live shows are pretty hype, so being hurt or sick doesn’t stop you?
E: Nah, to me if you pay money to come see us – even if you don’t pay money to see us – I want you to leave feeling how we feel. So if we’re tired and f**ked up, we want you to be tired and f**ked up too.
You’ve talked about your appreciation for pro wrestling. What did you think about Brock Lesnar beating The Undertaker at Wrestlemania?
E: Bulls**t! It’s bulls**t! That’s all I have to say about that.
If a zombie apocalypse were to break out tomorrow, how would the Flatbush Zombies react?
J: I think about things like this all day long.
E: Me too.
J: As of right now, I’m not too prepared. I don’t want to give too much away, too much planning on how I would be prepared or what I would do.
E: I’ve seen too many zombie movies that make me think of how I would approach it. Like sitting on top of a mall with a gun and waiting on people to come kill me. But I don’t know if that’s really going to happen, so I’ll just say that when it happens I’ll be ready.
What else do you have in the works for the immediate future?
E: We’re doing the Free Press Festival. We got some overseas s**t we got to handle. We’re going to France. It’s All A Matter Of Perspective comes out this year. I have a book that’s coming out this year. It’s some photography taken of us the last few years.
Follow Flatbush Zombies on Twitter @FlatbushZombies.
Flatbush Zombies will be performing at the Free Press Summer Festival in Houston, Texas on May 31st. To purchase tickets visit fpsf.com.