Flatbush Zombies — BetterOffDEAD
Flatbush Zombies: maybe you’ve heard them featured on the A$AP Mob song “Bath Salts.” Or perhaps you’ve heard their breakfast-inspired drug anthem “Thug Waffle,” a song glorifying a breakfast of weed and waffles.
While their newest mixtape, BetterOffDEAD, was released more than two weeks ago, I feel I would be doing a disservice if I didn’t give it a shoutout. BetterOffDEAD, the Brooklyn hip-hop trio’s second mixtape, contains an arsenal of dope beats combined with the unique flow of these Flatbush inhabitants.
The lead-off track, “Amerikkkan Pie,” is a sociopolitical venting that focuses on social portrayals of African Americans and how the government’s illusion of assistance is nothing but a sham. “Thugnificense” and “Palm Trees” carry along hypnotic beats coupled with equally smooth refrains that beckon the listener to zone out and just relax. These two songs are great stress-relievers and must-listens.
“Club Soda” is one of two songs on the 19-track project that features another artist, this one showcasing the skills of XXL’s 2013 Freshman Class, Action Bronson. The flow of Bronson fits in perfectly with the gritty yet hard-hitting flow of the Zombies. Despite the lack of features on the album, Flatbush Zombies make them count.
“222” carries the same hypnotism prevalent in Flatbush Zombies’ music. While there is a heavy drug theme to their work that sometimes grows monotonous, Flatbush Zombies’ beats, all produced by Erick Arc Elliott, each have their own unique twists, so listeners can vibe to the music without suffering any monotony. “MRAZ” features some dope beat samples, the best (and most outstanding) being Eazy-E’s nostalgic “Boyz-n-the-Hood” beat that pops up in the middle of the song.
Overall, this mixtape features a wide range of sounds. While the lyrical content is primarily focused on drugs, the trio has definitely evolved since D.R.U.G.S, their first mixtape. Definitely keep an eye out for the Zombies, because this is only the start of a promising career for this trio.
Mixtape of the Week: Mr. Focus — F#ck Mondays
If you’re wondering who in the hell Mr. Focus is, don’t worry. I wondered the same thing. He’s been on the mixtape scene since 2008, steadily rising in popularity over the past five years. What caught my eye about his newest mixtape, F#ck Mondays, at first was that a seemingly no-named artist had thousands of downloads. What kept my attention was the production value of his songs.
“Higher Up” is the first song that needs to be mentioned because I didn’t know what to make of it upon first listen. Throughout the song there is an evolution of slow, rhythmic beats laced with harder hitting ones. This sets the song in an odd limbo somewhere between hard-hitting weekend anthem and a song to chill out to.
“WHOA” and “4 AM” are both hard-hitting songs coming from Focus with catchy refrains and bass bumping beats. Whether used for pre-gaming a Badger game or getting ready to head out to the bars, both of these songs are a great way to get the blood pumping.
“B.I.A.” sports catchy violin instrumentals, adding a twist to what would have been a run-of-the-mill hip-hop track. The speed of the violins matching the speed of the bars being spit makes this song extremely catchy.
This mixtape does have its downfalls however. “Nice Tits” seeks to emulate the degrading treatment of women exercised by many rappers, but does it with the maturity level of a fourth grader. In addition, Mr. Focus wants his listeners to know that he is “out of this world” in “Area 51,” but I just could not help but think of this being a poorly thought out concept — something we would’ve expected out of an early Soulja Boy album.
Overall, don’t expect any type of lyrical depth from Mr. Focus in this mixtape. But with his well-produced songs and catchy refrains, Mr. Focus will have you saying “F#ck Mondays” for weeks.