On June 6, Flatbush Zombies rolled through Houston and shut down House of Blues for their 32nd stop of their two-month-long North American “See You in Hell” tour. The Houston show came just two months after Flatbush released their second album, Vacation in Hell, a 19-song album that includes features from Joey Bada$$, A$AP Twelvyy, Nyck Caution, Bun B, and even Portugal the Man (crazy cool, I know). The group is made up of three childhood friends — Meechy Darko (A.K.A Fleezus Christ), Erick Arc Elliott and Zombie Juice. The trio from Brooklyn have a really hard style that reminds me of Odd Future with an east coast flare, they’re also known for collabing with really cool artists like Portugal the Man (who you wouldn’t really expect to see on a rap album).
The night started off with a 20 minute set by Nyck Caution, a Pro Era young gun. This guy can drop some serious bars, and like most Pro Era guys can straight up kill a freestyle during a live set. I never really listened to Nyck before his set last week, but I’m definitely a fan now. Disguise the Limit is a really well produced album and it features a lot of Pro Era artists. Nyck closed out his set by paying tribute to the legend Capital Steez and successfully got the deep crowd hyped for the next opener, Kirk Knight.
Kirk Knight is another up and coming Pro Era rapper. He actually also produced an album with Nyck Caution under the group name Nyck @ Knight that features songs like “Audiopium” and “Off The Wall.” Kirk came out hyped and killed his set, he dropped songs like “I Know” ft. Mick Jenkins, “Knight Time” (which had one of the craziest opener moshes I’ve ever seen), and the unreleased song “Downtime.” Kirk goes hard, and just like his fellow Pro Era artists knows how to drop freestyles and bars on demand. Honestly, Pro Era is one of my favorite labels, and after the Joey Bada$$ tour that rolled through Texas in the spring, I’ve become a huge Pro Era fan. Their artists never disappoint and actually lay down live bars instead of hyping over backtracks.
After Kirk hyped the crowd to no return, Flatbush came out to one of the coolest stage entrances I’ve seen in a while. Meechy Darko and Zombie Juice both popped out of coffins to a nearly sold out crowd that was almost shoulder to shoulder to the back wall. They played all their best and most popular songs, such as “Facts,” “Vacation” (ft. Joey Bada$$), “Proxies,” “Headstone,” “HELL-O” and “Best American.” They also played some of their older songs off older mixtapes, such as “222” which Erick produced in his moms basement.
Towards the middle of their set, they took a moment in between songs to talk about issues such as mental health and corruption in American politics in a chill way. They dedicated the song “Trapped” to those who suffer from mental health issues and insecurity, which they themselves admitted to struggling with. I thought they brought up these issues, which are critical in modern society, in a way that allowed the crowd to relate and feel the meaning behind a lot of their songs. It’s cool that these guys are taking the time to discuss serious issues in modern society through song; they understand the power of the position that they are in and are using it to spread a positive message in a way that’s enjoyable to their audience. Their song “Best American” addresses some of the problems American society faces today in a song that’s one of my favorite off Vacation in Hell.
In between songs, they also played music that they draw a lot of inspiration from, such as Tupac, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Gorillaz and UGK. Their set really drew the audience into the meaning, creative process, and inspiration behind a lot of their songs on Vacation in Hell and their older mixtapes. They delivered an engaging set that also provided the typical hype rap atmosphere for the crowd of all ages to throw down too.
I highly recommend catching them on one of their final dates on tour or giving Vacation and Hell a listen before it blows up even more. Flatbush delivered one of the best rap sets I’ve seen roll through Texas this spring.