Concert Review: Flatbush Zombies (Detroit, MI)

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Flatbush Zombies have finally returned to the city of Detroit, Michigan for the first time in over two years. The sold out show went down on March 29th at the Majestic Theatre. Flatbush came in support of their recent album, 3001: A Laced Odyssey, and brought support from Remy Banks, A$AP Twelvy, and a few special guests throughout the night.

I showed up a little late to the show, about an hour after doors, but managed to walk in just as Remy Banks had hit the stage. Prior to tonight, I had seen Remy Banks open for Earl Sweatshirt almost a year ago to the day. Admittedly, I am not the most well versed in Remy’s music, but I consider myself a casual fan and have always like what I had heard. While short, Remy’s set managed to get the crowd warmed up, as any good opener should, but also managed to go the extra mile and gain some new fans along the way. The crowd was more than just bobbing their head, but bouncing their hands and off their feet- that’s a lot for an opener to provoke if you ask me.

The real highlight of Remy’s set however, was the support from Detroit’s own Bruiser Brigade. The set was DJed by Black Noise, one half of Bulletproof Dolphin and rising hip-hop producer best known for working with Danny Brown’s Bruiser Brigade clique, and most recently for the undeniable banger, “Living With My Mom” off Ratking member Wiki’s most recent solo effort. Beyond that, rising Detroit MC ZelooperZ, another Bruiser, came out and stole the show with a quick performance of his newest single, the anthem of excess that is “ISBD” (I Should Be Dead).

Next up was A$AP Mob affiliate, A$AP Twelvy. Now, with Rocky and Ferg enjoying the limelight of being A$AP’s Tyler and Earl, Twelvy is out to prove that they’re not the only members worth hearing, and that they all have something to say, and it’s his time to shine. “It’s my last year being broke” he declares. Danny Brown briefly joined Twelvy on stage when he performed Hella Hoes. At first it seemed like Danny was going to drop his verse, but I guess he just wanted to turn up for a minute.

Before I get to their performance, I want to let anyone that is interested in going to see Flatbush Zombies on this tour know that you should get familiar with their new album, because they’re playing it in its entirety. They’re still playing a few old songs, but only a few, like I can count them on my hand. While the new album is fantastic, the choice of setlist made it harder for me to be fully immersed in the show. I had been doing my best to learn as many new songs as possible, but seeing has how the album has just come out about 2 weeks ago, I can’t learn everything. Normally, I’m not one to complain about a set as I believe that if you don’t know the songs the artist is playing, then that’s on you. However, when you’re an artist that has not played somewhere in a long time, it’s important to cohesively balance old and new songs to not alienate anyone.

Beyond being unfamiliar with a large amount of the setlist, I cannot knock Flatbush Zombies’ performance, not one bit. I distinctly remember thinking to myself, “Either Juice is lip syncing, or he is just that spot on.” Once in awhile, the occasional voice crack or ad-lib assured me that he was legitimately performing, and he was that damn good. It was not a one man show, either. If you’re unfamiliar, Flatbush Zombies is a trio of rappers from Flatbush, Brooklyn, New York, and they are all heavyweight MC’s. Erick Ark Elliot AKA Erick The Architect delivered all his bars equally flawlessly, and Meech exploded with personality and charisma the entire show. The energy they brought would not quit. They made sure they kept the crowd moving any way they could, whether it was the blaring speakers knocking, or Meech jumping in the crowd. It was energy I had not seen for a crowd in a long time.

Flatbush did play a few classics at the end of the set. I won’t spoil what the songs were, but they are sure to please most longtime fans. No ridiculously deep cuts, but there’s definitely some cool stuff thrown in.

As a longtime fan of Flatbush Zombies, I can safely recommend checking out Flatbush Zombies on the 3001 tour. Despite being unfamiliar with a large part of the set, the music was still just as enjoyable whether you know the songs or not, and the sheer energy was unmatched and was worth the ticket just to be a part of that. If you are a fan of Flatbush, or hardcore hip-hop in general, definitely check this tour out if you have the means. If you are planning on going, make it a point to get familiar with 3001: A Laced Odyssey in the days leading up to the show. Luckily, it’s a fantastic record.  Also, get there early and check out Remy Banks and A$AP Twelvy kill it as well. (Johnny Athey)

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