CMW 2014: Flatbush Zombies @ The Phoenix

Flatbush Zombies are the response to anyone who laments for old school hip hop. The ones who think rap music has lost its way since the nineties, who think contemporary hip hop is all flash and no substance. Flatbush Zombies have the gritty, aggressive in a good way, fierce energy of Wu Tang, Enter the Wu Tang (36 Chambers) Wu Tang. Their work sounds amazing when listened to on album but live? Holy shit, man, they're fucking incredible. 

I have to say that as much as I love collaborations, seeing a really solid hip hop group was a breath of fresh air. Track collaborations are great -- they can bring together huge talents who bring out the best in one another and they make lesser talents appear greater by association and they just keep shit fresh -- but the problem with live music is that unless the artists are touring together or the guest artists are available to jump on stage, too much reliance on collaborations means that a rap show can feel like a whole bunch of false starts and half-finished songs.

Performers deal with the missing verses differently (for example Kendrick repeats his own verse to fill out a song but then Pusha T just stops cold after his verse) but there is nothing like seeing a show that doesn't have to rely on guests (or make up for an absence thereof). Flatbush Zombies perform together seamlessly as if they've been working together for decades. I love how serious FBZ are about their music and performing. Their passion shines through their meticulous sets -- I can only imagine how much work they put in.Their stage presence is one of veteran performers, comfortable and confident.

Plus, in case there was anyone in the crowd who weren't converts to the cult of Flatbush Zombies, Meechie Darko and Erick Arc Elliott showed Toronto some love by wearing Leafs and Jays gear (sorry, Raps -- maybe Zombie Juice was just still hurting over how close we were to taking out The Nets??).

Very excited to catch them next time they come through Toronto.


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Alex Snider sells books and writes and gets into low-stakes hijinks in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter where she'll be super active for a week then be quiet for months – she's a social media cicada.


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