When: Fri., Oct. 5, 10 p.m. 2012
New York rap group Flatbush Zombies made a splash in early 2012 with a stylish video for a subpar ode to weed, "Thug Waffle." The track and the clip—which features absurd amounts of syrup-soaked waffles, piles of weed, and plenty of shots of the MCs' extravagant grills, one of which has gold fangs—pretty much sum up the Zombies' strengths and weaknesses. Core members Meechy Darko and Zombie Juice have developed engagingly outlandish, even cartoonish rapping styles—the former wavers between a high-pitched whine and a low growl and favors exaggerated climaxes at the ends of lines, while the latter sounds more erratic and playful, sometimes to the point of shapelessness—and they blend well with the psychedelic beats. But their non sequitur punch lines and their rhymes about weed and, er, personal prowess wear thin pretty fast; it feels silly wishing for substance from a group like this, but more variety would be nice. Plus it doesn't always sound deliberate when they fight the beat rather than ride it. Thankfully Flatbush Zombies have stepped up their game on the new self-released mixtape D.R.U.G.S. The rapping has more urgent energy, and dovetails much more powerfully with the instrumentals, by producer (and sometimes rapper) Erick Arc Elliott—they're loose and druggy, like experimental late-60s rock, and Elliott uses plenty of syrupy pitch-shifted vocals, molasses-slow drum patterns, and dreamy synths. Still, I can't help but feel that even the best tracks on D.R.U.G.S. would be even better if they had gonzo videos too. —Leor Galil Smoke DZA headlines; Mr. Muthafuckin' Exquire, Flatbush Zombies, Cashius Green with Pheo, Nakim, and Alex Wiley open.
Price: $14, $12 in advance