Meechy Darko – “Gothic Luxury” review

Meechy Darko is a 32 year old MC & songwriter from Brooklyn, New York who came up as part of the trio Flatbush ZOMBiES with his childhood friends Zombie Juice & Erick the Architect. They would go on to release a couple mixtapes & albums together throughout the previous decade all to critical acclaim, but have been focusing on solo careers since their debut EP now, more than ɘver… came out a couple summers back with Meech being the first up at bat with a full-length executive produced by Dot da Genius.

After the morbid “Genesis” intro, the first song “Cursed” with Kirk Knight sets off the album with some string sections talking about having their eyes wide open until they see $100M whereas “Never Forgettin’” dives into trap turf thanks to Dot himself calling this his destiny. “K.U.A. (Kill Us All)” is an uncanny yet genuinely livid shot at systematic racism just before “LAVÏ$H HABiTS (Gothika)” works in slowed down vocal sample courtesy of Denzel Curry talking about tripping on psilocybin.

Meanwhile on “Get Lit or Die Tryin’”, we have Meechy wickedly declaring that he ain’t just anybody leading into Freddie Gibbs tagging along for the piano-laced “On God” featuring co-production from Jay Versace talking about dying twice throughout his life. Black Thought comes into the picture for “The MoMA” to talk about being birthed at The Museum of Modern Art over a cold instrumental, but then “Prada U” throws some organs into the mix rightfully calling himself a rockstar.

“What If?” is a downtrodden trap cut asking about all these hypothetical scenarios while the song “Hennessy & Halos” demonically shows the world what a villain really is. The penultimate track “Lost Souls” with Busta Rhymes & Zel finds the trio over some airy production wanting an explanation from God as to why the real ones die & “BLK Magîc” is a piano/guitar-driven closer letting the listeners know such when they hear it.

People have been screaming for a Meechy solo album for the last 4-years & now that we finally got what we wanted, it’s a pretty interesting body of work & is most certainly worth the listen for any Flatbush fan. He’s more honest & cathartic on his own & the sounds that Dot da Genius helps bring to the table are a respectfully nice change of pace compared to Erick the Architect’s.

Score: 3.5/5

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Joey Bada$$ – “2000” review

Joey Bada$$ is a 27 year old MC, singer & actor from New York City who came up as a founding member of the Pro Era & Beast Coast collectives. His debut mixtape 1999 just celebrated it’s 10 year anniversary last month & has gone on to become a classic, but Rejex was a decent collection of leftovers & Summer Knights was an solid prelude to his full-length debut. B4.DA.$$ eventually came on his 20th birthday & lived up it to it’s expectations by expanding on the vibes of 1999, but Joey’s sophomore effort ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$ revealed it be unquestionably the most political he’s ever been. 5 long years later, Joey’s officially giving us a sequel in the form of his 3rd album.

“The Baddest” is a piano-tinged opener produced Erick the Architect with Joey referring to himself as the baddest motherfucker in all of NY whereas “Make Me Feel” goes into boom bap turf thanks to Statik Selektah confessing that the haters made him take a hiatus for a bit. “Where I Belong” keeps the dustiness going taking about takin’ risks every time he hits the door leading into Westside Gunn coming into the picture for “Brand New 911” to bring in a jazzy instrumental that Chuck Strangers has cooked up getting on their fly shit.

Meanwhile on “Cruise Control”, we have Joey over a cloudy trap beat from Mike WiLL Made-It & Cardiak talking about staying 10 toes down just before “Eulogy” returns to the boom bap shouting out all his homies that’re sittin’ on the big wheels. “Zipcodes” has yet another jazzier tone to the production provided by Kirk Knight talking about doing this with ease, but then “One of Us” with Larry June finds the 2 shooting for a smoother aesthetic calling out the people who wish they were them.

“Welcome Back” on the other hand is definitely the weakest cut on the album from the bland trap instrumental to the Chris Brown verse & the tepid subject matter while “Show Me” returns to a boom bap aesthetic talking about wanting to be proven that his lover cares for her. “Wanna Be Loved” with J.I.D. has a more nocturnal sound to it expressing their desire to be appreciated while the song “Head High” is a jazz-inflicted ode to those who’re no longer here. The penultimate track “Survivor’s Guilt” comes through with a heart-wrenching tribute to Capital STEEZ & “Written in the Stars” sends off the album in glory rightfully talking about being a legend.

Some people tried to write Joey off because of “THE REV3NGE” & even I’ll admit myself that it was a Great Value version of the J. Cole single “Middle Child”, but I don’t see how anyone who loves 1999 as much as I do can dislike 2000. He really does an excellent job at recapturing the magic that made his debut mixtape one of the best of the 2010s & puts a more mature twist on it.

Score: 4.5/5

Flatbush ZOMBiES – “now, more than ɘver…” review

The Flatbush ZOMBiES are a Brooklyn trio consisting of Meechy Darko, Zombie Juice & Erick the Architect. Coming up as part of of the Beast Coast collective, the group broke out in the early 2010s off the strength of their 2 mixtapes D.R.U.G.S. & BetterOffDead. Shortly after they formed the quintet Clockwork Indigo with fellow Beast Coast members The Underachievers & put out an eponymous EP, but it wouldn’t be until 2016 when they put out their fantastic full-length debut 3001: A Laced Odyssey. Last we heard from then was in 2018 with their sophomore album Vacation in Hell but fast forward a couple years later, they’re back with their debut EP.

Things kick off with “herb”, where the trio of course talk about weed over a psychedelic instrumental from Erick as always. The next song “iamlegend” is about how they’ve hustled all their lives over a cloudy trap beat while the track “quicksand” is a Meechy solo cut about his demons over a manic instrumental.

The song “dirty elevator music” talks about how they have the world in their hands now over a boom bap beat while the penultimate track “blessings” talks about how life’s too short over a sedative instrumental. The EP finishes off with “when i’m gone”, where the trio talk about death & Meechy pays tribute to Mac Miller over a mournful beat.

Overall, it’s a solid EP for the most part. It‘s focused, Erick’s production continues to evolve over the course of time & the lyrical topics that’re being brought to the table are amongst the group’s most introspective ones to date.

Score: 3.5/5

Powers Pleasant – “Life’s Beautiful” review

Powers Pleasant is a producer/DJ from Brooklyn, New York that came up as a member of the Pro Era & Beast Coast collectives. He’s had a hand in the instrumentals on some of the latter’s output from The Underachievers’ 3rd mixtape It Happened in Flatbush in 2016 to Joey Bada$$’ politically charged sophomore album ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$ in 2017. However if the Beast Coast’s disappointingly average debut album Escape from New York earlier this year wasn’t enough, Powers has seen fit to drop an EP of his own.

After the “Sway’s Intro”, we go into the first song “Vintage Chanel”. Where Joey teams up with [Kirk Knight] as well as Meechy Darko & Zombie Juice to boast over an alluring trap beat. The next track “Please Forgive” by Denzel Curry, IDK, ZillaKami & Zombie Juice is a lyrical onslaught with an ominous beat while the song “Can’t Fucc Wit It” by Buddy & G Perico showcases the gritty life on the West Coast over an apocalyptic beat.

The track “Pull Up” by A$AP Ferg & Joey sees the 2 flexing over a cloudy trap beat while the song “Hit My Line” by AKTHESAVIOR, Jay Critch & Joey finds the 3 getting sexual over an intoxicating beat with a hook sounding totally ripped off from the Travis Scott playbook. The penultimate track “Purified” by Aaron Rose, CJ Fly & Joey talks about being blessed over a classy instrumental & then it closes out with a decent “Pull Up” sequel by the Beast Coast.

There’s not much else for me to say beyond that, this is a decent EP. Powers is definitely a talented producer, but 5 of the 8 tracks sound like leftovers from the Escape from New York sessions.

Score: 3/5

Beast Coast – “Escape from New York” review

The Beast Coast are a New York hip hop collective consisting of Pro Era & Clockwork Indigo (the Flatbush ZOMBiES & The Underachievers). All 3 subgroups blew throughout the decade with the strengths of Joey Bada$$’ debut mixtape 1999, Flatbush’s sophomore tape BetterOffDead & The Underachievers’ sophomore album Evermore: The Art of Duality. Now after all these years of making names for themselves, they’re finally teaming up for their full-length debut as a collective.

The opener “It Ain’t Easy, It Ain’t Easy” by AK, CJ Fly, the Flatbush ZOMBiES & Nyck @ Knight talks about their rise to fame over a bland beat while the next track “Left Hand” by CJ, Clockwork Indigo, Joey Bada$$ & Nyck @ Knight takes a jab at their enemies over a druggy trap beat. The song “Problemz” by CJ, Erick the Architect, Nyck Caution, The Underachievers & Zombie Juice talks about their own issues over a mellow beat while the track “Far Away” by Erick Joey, Meechy Darko & Nyck @ Knight gets romantic over a mellow beat from Powers Pleasant. The song “Snow in the Stadium” by CJ, Erick, Joey, Issa Gold, Kirk Knight & Meechy talks about defeating the best over a cloudy trap beat while the track “Rubberband” sees Flatbush & Joey talks about making dough over a gloomy trap beat.

The song “Distance” by Erick, Issa & Joey talks about feeling free over some pretty keyboards & skittering snares while the track “Bones” by Clockwork Indigo & Nyck @ Knight gets confrontational over a perfectly fitting trap beat. The song “Puke” by AK, Erick, Joey, Meechy & Nyck looks back at when they were broke over some somber piano chords while the track “Desperado” by Joey, Kirk, Meechy & Zombie Juice get at their haters over some hi-hats & an ominous acoustic guitar lead. The song “1 More Round” by Erick, Joey, Meechy & Nyck is a headache inducing alcohol anthem with a buttery instrumental while the penultimate track “Coast/Clear” by Flatbush, Issa, Joey & Nyck @ Knight is a horrifically executed friendship ode. The closer “Last Choir” by AK, Erick, Meechy & Nyck @ Knight then talks about being blessed to have made it in the rap game over a joyous instrumental.

While we’ve waited a long time for it, it’s pretty decent. Everyone all sounds great collectively & I love how they didn’t bring on any features as a way of showing that, but the production could’ve been better.

Score: 3/5

Flatbush ZOMBiES – “Vacation in Hell” review

A little over 2 years after the release of their debut album 3001: A Laced Odyssey, Beast Coast subgroup Flatbush ZOMBiES are finally returning with their sophomore full-length album. The album starts off with “HELL-O”, where they talk about how they came up & how they’re moving on with their newfound fame over an eerie beat. The next song “Chunky” sees Erick Arc Elliott & Zombie Juice talking about standing for something over a & leading the youth over a settle trap instrumental from Erick while the track “Vacation” with Joey Bada$$ is a fun celebratory anthem about making it while the track M. Bison talks about winning over a decent trap beat.

The song “Headstone” is filled with creative references to some of the trio’s influences over a gritty instrumental & while “Big Shrimp” talks about sex over a banging Kirk Knight beat, the hook is just alright. The song “Leather Symphony” with A$AP 12vy gets braggadocious over some piano keys & handclaps while the track “Reel Girls” with Bun B gets sexual over some prominent drums.

The track “Facts” with Jadakiss is filled with battle bars over some keys & punchy drums while the song “Ask Courtney” is a reminder that love hurts over an atmospheric trap beat. The track “Crown” is about real music winning & their destinies over a druggy beat with a faint organ while the song “Proxies” gets ambitious over some creepy choir vocals. The track “U&I” sees the trio getting introspective over a smooth instrumental while “The Goddess” talks about the type of ladies they’re into over a laid-back boom bap beat.

The track “Trapped” is a beautiful love tune with a mellow acoustic guitar while the song “Best American” gets conscious over an atmospheric instrumental. The song  “Misunderstood” is about self-destruction over a twangy guitar & hard hitting drums while the penultimate track “YouAreMySunshine” is a Meechy Darko solo cut that pays homage to the late A$AP Mob founder A$AP Yams over some somber keyboards. The album finishes with “The Glory”, where the trio get with Denzel Curry to tell you that they want you to succeed & the instrumental sets the tone perfectly.

While I was initially worried about the album being incosistent, the ZOMBiES proved me wrong at the end. The production is banging as always & their content on here is a lot stronger than before

Score: 4/5