Interview: Flatbush Zombies Open Up About How The ‘Festival Life’ Has Taken Over
Exactly one year ago, the Flatbush Zombies almost left South Florida with a sour taste in their mouths. During their 3001 Tour last year, Meechy Darko, Zombie Juice and Erick Arc Elliott made a stop in Fort Lauderdale and realized just how much love they had from their fans, but experienced some terrible luck. After they got off stage, Elliot noticed his phone was missing from the green room backstage and eventually deemed it stolen. It was a rough time without his device, but luckily for fans, the unfortunate experience didn’t make him bitter about coming back to the Sunshine state for Rolling Loud 2017.
“I thought it was about weed,” Zombie Juice said about the meaning of the major rap festival’s name. “This is a festival for the youth really,” Meechy chimed in. “I do think of weed obviously, but I really do think of the youth. I think that there’s a lot of young legends on there but there’s not a lot of old ones. Lil Wayne is obviously a legend, but for the most part there was a lot of young guys out here so I think it’s more about the youth.”
A lot has changed for the Brooklyn trio within the past year. After getting a new phone, Erick, Meechy and Juice took their talents on the road to bring their official debut album 3001: A Laced Odyssey to fans around the country on their 2016 tour. Not long after that run ended, the guys received an opportunity of a lifetime to hit the road, once again, but this time with legends like Method Man, Redman, Cypress Hill, Wiz Khalifa and, of course, Snoop Dogg for Merry Jane’s Mount Kushmore Wellness Retreat Tour, which started Apr. 13 in Seattle, WA and ended in Denver, CO on Apr. 23.
“He’s a cool guy,” Meechy says of Snoop Dogg. “I always tell everyone that he’s exactly how they think he is, great. It was a humbling fucking experience for us. We got to roll with a legend. Not many people get to say that kind of shit. It was very fitting for us. It’s not like they put us on the road with some guy that has nothing to do with us.”
“It was also our first time in Vegas too,” Erick added. “He brought us there for that. We performed at the MGM Grand. Just being in Vegas for the first time with Snoop, and Cypress Hill was there. It was fucking nuts.”
During their time sharing stages with their idols and passing blunts to Uncle Snoop, the guys celebrated a special milestone in their career. Exactly one year after their debut album 3001: A Laced Odyssey dropped, Flabush Zombies released the official sequel to their classic single “Palm Trees,” titled “Still Palm Trees” with Snoop D-O-Double G. “It was hard but we did it in a second,” Juice said about the making of the record. “We did it in one shot.”
The group says the idea of the remix came from their manager Josh Dick. They didn’t want to “rap the same or rap about the same shit,“ so they switched up their lyrics and Erick went to work on altering the instrumental to create a brand new vibe from their original record. Meech says that it was difficult recreating a song that they first created over four years ago, but as Juice said before, they did it all in one shot.
“Can I tell another secret?,” Meech asked the crew. “We were going to get Tech N9ne on it. So it was going to be us, Tech N9ne, and Snoop, but we decided it was going to be too much. It was going to be that but we just wanted Snoop to dig the song and shit so we wanted to pay homage to our most classic record at the time.”
Shortly after concluding the most epic tour they’ve ever been on, the Flatbush Zombies flew back to Miami for Rolling Loud. The guys were welcomed back with open arms the second they hit the Monster Energy stage. The Zombie crew — straight outta Flatbush — were able to memorize their fans and make them recite their lyrics bar for bar, especially Juice’s verse in “Palm Trees.”
“I told these guys before we went on stage that Miami loves us a lot,” said Meechy. “We did a song called ‘Face Off’ a couple years ago and we took the sample from a news anchor talking about a guy eating someone’s face. Ever since then I think Miami has liked us a lot so every time we come here they show us a lot of love.”
Neither Snoop Dogg nor the rest of their previous tour mates were able to make it to the festival, so there was no chance to perform their unique remix, which didn’t faze the guys at all. “I only want to perform it with Snoop,” said Meechy. On stage, they performed a handful of their well-known singles off their debut album and their mixtapes — like BetterOffDead — during their hour-long set. They weren’t able to confirm an upcoming project but they alluded that there’s more new music on the way. Before they performed their classic “Palm Trees,” Flatbush Zombies rocked an unreleased record for the fans, but couldn’t confirm the name of it.
“Every song has a name but it’s not the real name,” said Meechy. “So let’s just say ‘Scales.’ We record spontaneously and we made a bunch of music before we left for the tour. So we were like ‘fuck it’ let’s bring that on the tour with us, practice it, and maybe that will be the single.”
The trio have a few more show dates coming up this summer as well as a new instrumental project from the mind of Erick the Architect called ARCstrumentals Vol 2. He released the first volume back in 2015 but didn’t sell it; he gave it away online. After his manager told him he undersold it, Erick is ready to release the project in a way that will prove his fans’ loyalty to his music. He wants to drop the project on a cassette tape.
“That’s how music was introduced to me, Erick said. “If I could choose anyway to release music, I would do it in a way that’s really hard to listen to because if you go out and buy a cassette player, that means you really love it. Also, because its nostalgic, people keep it as a collector’s item.”
If the project drops in July, it will come exactly five years after their debut mixtape D.R.U.G.S. hit the ‘Net. In the meantime, the Flatbush natives will continue live the zombie lifestyle in order to cook up more of the drug-induced rhymes and psychedelic instrumentals that we love.