Flatbush Zombies are surprisingly down to earth. That isn’t to say that other rappers aren’t down to earth, or that the Zombies should be some sort of bugged-out psychos. It’s just that for a group that just released an album called Vacation In Hell, which they say represents day-to-day existence as much as any sort of religious concept of eternal punishment, they aren’t quite as shell-shocked as you’d expect.
In fact, they’re warm, gregarious, and have the sort of chemistry that is born of growing up together watching cartoons and wrestling. Contrary to their aggressive performance style, which I got the opportunity to witness up close and personal at Coachella just a few days before, they’re almost alarmingly laid back in person, a rap trio of Jekyll and Hydes.
I met Erick, Juice, and Meech at their Los Angeles hotel between Coachella weekends to discuss the new album’s creation and its enthusiastic reception from their fans, taking extended breaks from recording, and unplugging from The Matrix of social media validation. During the course of the conversation, we accidentally found ourselves getting deep about friendships and how to create art that lasts longer than the latest album promotion cycle.
What I found was that these are three performers, entertainers, and artists who also happen to be best friends, truly. While many artists tout their friendships, Flatbush Zombies genuinely seem to enjoy each others’ company, finishing each others’ sentences, and bouncing off each others’ ideas. They are more like a trio of brothers than anything else, tightly-knit and simpatico, the sort of unit you can imagine having a long-term career like some of the great touring bands of rock. That’s exactly what they’d want too; as I find out during this interview there is no place any of them would rather be than in the company of their brothers-in-arms, the one place they feel truly constitutes their Vacation In Hell.