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Flatbush Zombies at Soma

I first saw the Flatbush Zombies at Coachella this year, where their visual-heavy set early in the afternoon at Mojave attracted a large crowd from a diverse background - many mumbling around the crowd revealed people had left their friend groups behind to come to this set. Hailing from New York, the Flatbush Zombies are one of hip-hops hottest new trios - composed of Meechy Darko, Zombie Juice, and Erick the Architect. Still independent, they’ve built a strong fan base that prides itself on being politically and socially aware of the current climate, as well as loving music.

The Coachella set in April was my first real introduction to the group; fast forward to June and I had the opportunity to review their show at Soma SD. As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, SOMA SD is one of the gems of the San Diego music venue scene. A bare-bones room painted black, fronted by enormous speakers, housed the See You in Hell tour, featuring the Flatbush Zombies and Pro Era members Nyck Caution and Kirk Knight, on June 13th.

The first opener, Nyck Caution, is a core member of the Pro Era family, a New York hip hop movement known for their layered lyricism, hard-hitting songs, and Brooklyn swagger.

Before going on tour with Flatbush Zombies, he and Joey Bada$$ (also a proud Pro Era member) toured together. Nyck bounced out from stage right, his all black Vapormaxes giving him a little extra air with each step.

A smile broke across his face as the crowd roared its approval, and his energy was absolutely contagious. Jumping right into “Perfect Murder,” one of the songs off his and Kirk Knight’s project Nyck @ Knight, he kept his energy up throughout the whole set. Pausing in the middle for a Capital Steez tribute (the Pro Era-studded collab Like Water), he explained how hearing the late Steez rap “The sky's the limit, that's what they told the fuckin' fool. I disguise the limit, now I'm aimin' for the Sun and Moon” lead to the title of Nyck’s 2016 debut mixtape, Disguise the Limit.

My favorite part of his set was when he parted the crowd, walked through adoring fans to the center, and started a mosh pit to his hard-hitting single “See You in Hell.” After a cover of Kid Cudi’s “Pursuit of Happiness,” Nyck welcomed Kirk Knight on stage.

Kirk Knight got the crowd hyped up before launching into a set of A$AP Mob covers and songs from Nyck @ Knight. A multi-talented producer and rapper, he seemed happiest whipping the crowd into a frenzy as he demonstrated his versatility switching between genres with ease. He brought Nyck back on stage for a few of the songs of their project Nyck @ Knight, and the two shared excellent chemistry, really reflecting how close they are. After his set, Kirk gave hugs to everyone in the first couple rows - obviously making their days.

After Kirk’s set, smoke started to fill the stage, obscuring the three coffins unveiled and filling the lungs of the front rows. The crowd started rumbling as the Zombies appeared out of their coffins then launched into an energetic version of “HELL-O.”

Each of their unique personalities shone in their performance - Zombie Juice lead the audience in a chant “I love myself,” Meechy Darko performed a slowed-down version of “Facts,” and Erick the Architect spat bars faster than he could breathe. Of course, no Zombies concert would be complete without a little mosh pit action. Meechy stepped over people, supported by what looked like solid cheerleading triangles as Juice supported from the barricade.

They came together for hits like "Best American" (declaring their run for President) and "Vacation" (Meechy growling his iconic “I just got back from Australia”). They played an unreleased song about favorite strains, and closed off an absolutely raucous set with Palm Trees.

After the show, the pit held remnants of Backwoods and lost shoes and jackets. Teens stumbled out into the night, bubbling over with stories about how they touched this artist or that artist in an ultimate show of one-upmanship. As I walked to my car, I couldn’t think of a more unique performance that I’d ever seen. Flatbush Zombies and their openers Nyck Caution and Kirk Knight should definitely be on your radar, if they weren’t already.

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