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The idea of the Flatbush Zombies going solo seemed like something that would’ve never happened years ago. Being an extremely tightknit group, and all contributing a specific sound & angle to the overall sound of the Zombies, a full solo tape from any member didn’t seem like it would feel right. Undoubtedly though, if there was a solo people were interested in, it was Meechy. With such a iconic voice & as his feature profile slower grew over time, it was an idea that fans had dreamed of. So many years later, a full decade after we got the first taste of his solo work with the song “Face-Off (L.S.Darko),” Meechy finally has dropped his solo debut.
Flatbush Zombies – Face – Off (L.S.Darko) (Prod. By Erick Arc Elliott)
A theme throughout all his music is the love of the city he comes from. Flatbush Zombies is more than just a name, putting the entire Brooklyn neighborhood on their backs by working it into their namesake. With this in mind, “The Genesis” can be seen as his own twisted version of the classic Nas intro “The Genesis” from Illmatic. Being just a borough next to where the Queens rapper stems from, Meechy captures the weight of his borough through his own eyes.
Working in his words from this intro, “PRADA U” uses all the names he proclaimed to capture the theme of Gothic Luxury. Playing off of the homonym of “Prada U/Proud of You,” he highlights his vices with luxury brands & how they contribute to his sinner traits.
There seems to be a slight interpolation of DMX’s “Damien” series in the second verse as well, as his voice pitches up & gains a similar inflection to the questioning voice & flow of the original “Damien” track. A fitting reference, since that series also finds DMX in a constant state of committing violence for the benefits of fortune & fame. See Edit
Meechy Darko – PRADA U
These moments of callbacks to the elder statesman of New York continue on tracks such as “Lost Souls.” New York’s overall sound probably wouldn’t be in the state it is without the contribution of Busta Rhymes, whose sound became a defining factor since the 90s. His aggressive yet playful flow can be found in all corners of hip hop, including Meechy’s own work with Flatbush Zombies. Its far from the strongest Busta verse, but its quite the passing-of-the-torch moment, as he contributes his own iconic voice to the overall themes of the album.
Equating himself to the prestigious status of the Manhattan Museum of Modern Art, he sees himself as if his mother birthed him within the museum. Embracing his heritage in full force on the track, he sees himself as much of a work of art as anything else on display. While the idea of the MoMA does work into the overall idea of Gothic Luxury, its status as an iconic New York hip hop landmark has grown in years thanks to Jay-Z’s performances there for “Picasso Baby.”
Drug usage has always been a thickly laid theme of Meechy’s music, and its stronger than ever on “Get Lit or Die Tryin'”. He captures this image of a bigger-than-life drug dealer, an idea not too far from Queens native 50 Cent’s luxurious gangster imagery on Get Rich or Die Tryin’. He deeply indulges into the most reckless activities imaginable, taking a darker turn than his usual acid usage & replacing it with alcohol.
Meechy Darko – Get Lit or Die Tryin’
While that track is self-indulgent, “Hennessey & Halos” finds himself with a brief moment of vulnerability. Detailing the last words said to his own father & the eventual burial, it highlights why the themes of the album are so dark despite the images of luxury. Moments like this have encouraged him to take a more villainous role, replacing traumas with artificial goods.
Flatbush Zombies has never been the most complex music, but what Meechy pulls together throughout Gothic Luxury is quite the ambitious work. With production fully brought together for a more cinematic feel thanks to Dot Da Genius, Meechy creates a world unlike any other while being undeniably New York. A vocal timbre that itself is a selling point, his lyrics of being always at the edge of darkness & the looming threats of racism solidify the album as an immediate listen.
Edit: In a recent Reddit Ask Me Anything, Meech confirmed this interpolation was not intentional, stating:
DEF WAS NOT CHANNELING X ON PRADA U
THATS JUST REGULAR OL MEECHMeechy Darko