iamlegend – [Flatbush Zombies]

I remember when I was put onto the Flatbush Zombies back in high school, I immediately became obsessed. Although I didn’t necessarily connect with all of their wild drug references or anything on that end of the spectrum, I was drawn into their gritty personas and descriptive personalities. Meechie Darko’s raspy, deep, and individualistic voice along with his ability to rap at different tempos and timestamps was always intriguing. Erick the Architect’s mixture of masterful bars and even more impressive production skills impressed me time and time again. Finally, Zombie Juice’s higher, more melodic voice was typically a nice opposing sound that evened the playing field, but he also had an aggressiveness while remaining playful, consistently drawing me in wanting more. I have to be honest, I lost touch with the group a bit in the last couple of years, but when I was scrolling through Twitter and noticed that they’re back with a new song, music video, and have a project entitled Now, more Than Ever on the way, so I was sucked right back into the wormhole that once consumed me years ago.

This new single is called “Iamlegend” and it’s as eye-opening, dark, and hostile as ever before. The beat is more uncharacteristic than most of the current Hip-Hop production you’ll hear in this day and age, and I even had trouble catching the tempo at first. Meechie’s harsh, hard-hitting delivery begins before the beat is even prevalent, but I am able to pick up some interesting percussion and forceful drums mixed with a variety of obscure yet appealing synths and other noises. Darko’s words are stretched out at the beginning, not in a melodic way but more so an overly annunciated fashion before he picks up the pace and gets into a hastier delivery. He’s kind of the person that introduces the rhythm before the drums come in to assist him but as soon as they do enter into the picture, he bounces along effortlessly throughout his verse.

Juice takes the hook himself and it’s a complete juxtaposition from his counterpart’s previous verse. He whispers a sort of melodic chant that comes off almost like a dreamy interlude that divides the verses up nicely. Erick the Architect comes in for the second set of sixteen and has the most regular sound out of the trio. Although it sounds the most normal, his flows are beyond impressive as he switches his tempo in the blink of an eye and keeps you constantly anticipating and wondering where he’s going to go next. Meechie then rounds out the song with a few final thoughts that are a bit more playful and less aggressive than his original verse. Throughout the song, the zombies mention a bunch of different topics including drugs, staying focused on their end goals and the light at the end of the tunnel, and dealing with scrutiny, among many other ambiguous and extensive narratives.

This visual is grainy and granular, meeting the overall aesthetic of the group. Throughout the majority of the video, a sort of gun scope shows crosshairs and divides the screen into four different portions. Some very graphic as well as iconic people and things are shown sporadically throughout including Malcolm X, Mike Tyson, explosions, crucifixes, and other eye-catching themes. For Meechie’s part, all four portions of the screen are blue, sometimes showing the rapper standing in front of what looks like a capital building or courthouse of some sort. When Juice comes in for the chorus, the color scheme changes to a red and yellow tint as he seems to be confident and almost arrogant while spitting his appealing lines. The color once again changes for Erick’s part, this time transitioning to green. The four windows are divided as the top two show his eyes and nose side by side with trippy effects, while the bottom two combine together to display his mouth reciting his bars. Although at times certain images can be graphic or tough to watch, they’re combined with other, more recognizable things that oppose one another for a pretty powerful message beyond the lyrics that are spoken in the track itself.

After not hearing too many new offerings from the Flatbush Zombies in recent history myself, I feel as if I’m drawn in and want to pick right back up where I left off. This song has a nice bounce to it and the three completely different styles that come together to work with one another fit in seamlessly like three pieces of an unfinished puzzle. Their announced project Now, More Than Ever is expected to be an EP so I’m not sure how long it’s actually going to be but either way, I’m sure we’re in for a treat without a doubt. That project can be expected to drop next week on June 5th, and I’ll have my eyes peeled to see if they release any other information or singles leading up to it. Once again, the infamous Brooklyn trio’s brand-new song is titled “Iamlegend”, and it’s a track you’re definitely going to want to check out as soon as you get a chance.