A long, long (okay, not so long) time ago in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, there formed a wild trio of rappers that would ultimately become some of the most revolutionary independent hip-hop artists of all time. Comprised of Erick Arc Elliott,
A long, long (okay, not so long) time ago in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, there formed a wild trio of rappers that would ultimately become some of the most revolutionary independent hip-hop artists of all time.
Comprised of Erick Arc Elliott, Juice and Meechy Darko, FBZ is a rebellious bunch that don’t give a fuck about anyone’s rules—they’re just having fun and making great music, and the success they’ve had doing just that is plain phenomenal.
If you’re not already familiar with the group, look no further than their potent projects or insane visuals to get the picture—these guys color way outside the lines of today’s typical “rapper,” but can lyrically stand toe to toe with damn near anyone.
When I first found their music, I was immediately drawn in by the imagery that they portrayed in their lyrics; each artists carries a specific sound and style that always combine for a winning concoction. With Elliott laying the audible landscape, himself, Meech and Juice have cut quality record after quality record, toured the states, toured Europe and other countries, and received co-signs from some of the biggest artists in the industry. But, even with all that and the millions of plays they have on top of it, they’re not nearly as respected as they should be.
We see guys like Chance The Rapper performing on day time television, nightly shows with whoever the fuck, receiving endless other accolades and attention, which overwhelmingly dwarfs the Zombies’ buzz. It’s not like Chance hasn’t done some incredible things, made some incredible music and helped many people in his community, but when we’re solely talking about what the artist(s) has been able to do without a label or any major financial backer, the Flatbush Zombies are right on up there with Chance in terms of how impressive their careers have been.
To an extent, I understand why they aren’t hailed by the masses. They are a bit grittier than Chano, as their content is more based around drugs and government corruption than the ultra-positive and happy energy behind Mr. The Rapper’s music. It doesn’t make it any less hip-hop or any less dope, and if anything it’s MORE impressive that they’ve become these international juggernauts with the graphic content that their lyrics are sometimes laced with.
Regardless of being aimed at a more mature audience, the Flatbush Zombies are the most polarizing and popular independent group since OFWGKTA. That all being said, what they’re doing is a whole lot bigger than their own success—they’re further pushing open the door for artists to remain independent and run their own operation, without all the politics and the radio-focused mentality.
Along with Chance, the Buffet Boys, the $uicideBoy$ and The Underachievers, FBZ are revolutionizing how to succeed in the music industry, and that’s amazing to see. While signing to a label can obviously be the key to stratospheric success for you, so can sticking with your friends and having fun making the music you want to make.