Flatbush Zombies
BetterOffDEAD


4.0
excellent

Review

by Guzzo CONTRIBUTOR (24 Reviews)
November 29th, 2013 | 48 replies | 5,103 views


Release Date: 09/11/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Erick "Arc" Elliot turns heads once again, this time with the help of a more consistent effort from MC's Meechy and Juice, conceiving one of the best Hip-Hop releases of 2013.

When Flatbush Zombies released their first mixtape "D.R.U.G.S." last year, it showcased producer Erick "Arc" Elliot's talent, but ultimately was brought down by the inconsistent rapping of it's other two members, Meechy Darko and Zombie Juice. More times then not, Elliot would craft these abrasive, in-your-face, multi-layered beats that would be immediately ear-catching, however it would seemingly drown out whoever was on the mic. Not a fault to Elliot, rather to the MC's rarely being able to craft a hook or verse that truly took the attention away from the production. As a result, the album became a forgettable affair, with exception to a couple of tracks, and left many in question. With more then a year of growth and experimenting, however, we see the New York collective correct their faults, turning in one of the best releases this year in BetterOffDEAD.

And it is vividly apparent from the start. Amerikkkan Pie throws acid laced guitar strings, a creeping piano loop and an opera-esque "Ohhhh-ohhhhh's" to go along with machine-gun hi-hats and bass pounding beats. Clearly Erick Elliot didn't lose any momentum from their first tape, instead expanding and diversifying his sound to another level. No, the surprising part about Amerikkkan Pie isn't its production, it is in the MC's collective verses and a hook that is actually sonically appealing and memorable. From the moment Meechy unleashes his first verse to Juice's eccentric final verse, it captures the listener in a tandem that was thoroughly missing throughout most of "D.R.U.G.S." And it doesn't stop with the opening track. In fact, it gains speed until the the final track closes. BetterOffDEAD is a mixtape that grasps the listener from the first track and never lets go. There is much praise for the vast improvement in Juice and Meechy, as both their electric personalitys' shine just as bright as the excellent production. Where Meechy often raps in this bubbling baritone that is as comical at times as it is frightening, Juice is truly his counterpart, rapping in a high pitched, ever-changing, paranoid tone. Together, their seismic differences in tone come together very well, creating a playfully fun and interesting listen.

Indeed, an ability to mesh these contradicting sounds into a cohesive whole is what makes BetterOffDEAD an enjoyable experience. Throughout the record, we are shown Erick Elliot's diverse skill set. Tracks such as Regular and Complex, 222 and Palm Trees show him crafting very calm and serene soundscapes and samples. Elsewhere, he shows us the other spectrum of his skills with the haunting tones of Nephilim and Amerikkkan Pie or the boom-bap takes on Death 2 and Club Soda. Erick Elliot's work on this tape is awe-inspiring, in the most non-hyperbolic way possible. It is one of the most diverse and creative Hip-Hop works this year, if not the best of them all. While Elliot is still the star of the show, Juice and Meechy perform admirably. Flatbush Zombies lyrical approach never make you think, "Man, these guys are really socially conscious." It is a shock-rap, fun-filled take where the MC's aim is to present you with syllable twisting, play on words that act as more of an ear appealing second layer to the beats rather than lyrics that try to paint a story.

And if there is a complaint, it is in the somewhat too immature nature of the lyrics. Tracks like Bliss show an over dependence of the word "fuck," even though it is obvious they are conscious of its use, it can still be quite grating. Also, the voice-mail at the end of G Tears is completely unneeded, again Flatbush is conscious of this, for at the end Juice states that he was just talking so that Elliot could change up the beat. It is in these moments where you can tell that they are straining for laughs that makes you roll your eyes and ends up being obnoxious instead of creating laughs. Thugnificense uses a very druggy, auto-tuned chorus that Future could sue over and the track Drug Parade, while having an absolutely hilarious Danny Brown verse that sees him singing, is reminiscent of the faults that plagued D.R.U.G.S. where the beat is just too abrasive and in-your-face for the MC's to compensate for.

BetterOffDEAD never challenges you to think about the bigger questions in life. It never makes you assume that there is something grand behind what it is saying. Because there isn't. It is a mixtape that is pure fun, in every aspect. Whether it is making you cringe at the disgusting narrative in one song, or making you laugh unbearably at the sheer absurdity of the lyrics in the next, it is an albums that keeps the listener intrigued until the very end just because of its craziness. Flatbush Zombies realized their faults, and where other would stay at the same medium or digress, they ascend and in the midst of it find their sound. BetterOffDEAD is a mixtape that should find its way onto many "Best Of" lists for 2013, and it shouldn't be missed by Hip-Hop enthusiasts nor music enthusiasts in general.



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user ratings (118)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Guzzo10
Contributing Reviewer
November 28th 2013



1013 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

it bangz

Digging: Your Old Droog - Your Old Droog

Buzzkillr
November 28th 2013



1541 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

cool, this really needed a review. definitely one of the best mixtapes I've heard all year.

Buzzkillr
November 28th 2013



1541 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

wow, review is sloppy as fuck. how long did it take you to write this?

Guzzo10
Contributing Reviewer
November 28th 2013



1013 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Its one of my favorites this year for sure. I figured it would have a lot more attention then it currently has considering the love for D.R.U.G.S.

GnarlyShillelagh
Staff Reviewer
November 28th 2013



6079 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Gud album

Digging: Your Old Droog - Your Old Droog

MMX
November 29th 2013



4796 Comments


About time this got a review


Guzzo10
Contributing Reviewer
November 29th 2013



1013 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I've been meaning to review it since it came out. Album is fire

FromDaHood
Contributing Reviewer
November 30th 2013



9033 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Pretty sure you can blame allthis group's problems on Juice b/c Darko is pretty good

Guzzo10
Contributing Reviewer
November 30th 2013



1013 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Darko is great. Reminds me of Ol Dirty Bastard a lot.

Eulogize
December 4th 2013



2968 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is pretty much all I listened to throughout all of November. Nephilim is my favorite track by far.

Guzzo10
Contributing Reviewer
December 4th 2013



1013 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This mixtape has some many tracks that I can listen to depending on the day. I want to say Amerikkkan
Pie is my fav though

Also, anyone besides Buzz have any thoughts on the actual writing? Mods/Staff/Users don't really
comment about the actual writing anymore.

Funeralopolis
December 28th 2013



11155 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

so much fun

Digging: Banks - London

MMX
December 29th 2013



4796 Comments


where is the rest of sputnik, you guys are missing out

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
December 29th 2013



18238 Comments


nigga i know this rules

Digging: Syndrone - Salmataxia

larrytheslug
December 29th 2013



1315 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

zombies and danny brown throwin the coolest new years party in san francisco. wish i could be there.

FourthReich
December 29th 2013



17306 Comments


wish i could be

Spluger
January 13th 2014



1131 Comments


This tape is fantastic.

MMX
January 14th 2014



4796 Comments


Why is sputnik sleeping on this

MMX
January 14th 2014



4796 Comments


Wake up fools

Eulogize
January 14th 2014



2968 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I wish God Blessed the Dead was longer. One of my favorite songs on here.



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