RZA and Flatbush Zombies held an exclusive Zoom listening event on Thursday (December 9) to promote their new collaborative single and video “Plug Addicts.” With its symphonic strings and ethereal beat, the track allows RZA, Meechy Darko, Zombie Juice and Erik The Architect space to flex their individual talents. RZA’s dark production cradles the vocals and firmly adheres to his signature ’90s Hip Hop aesthetic.
Before they pressed play, RZA praised the Flatbush Zombies and called them “the vibe Hip Hop is missing” while comparing them to his own pioneering group Gravediggaz (Prince Paul, Frukwan, Too Poetic and RZA).
“We gathered Prince Paul from the Gravediggaz and we came together just started making music,” RZA told HipHopDX. “One of the songs we all felt extremely happy about the creation and the sonics of it was ‘Plug Addicts.'”
As Meechy explained to DX, “This is a long time coming. This was from 2012. We’re still trying to find the cypher video of the first time we met RZA backstage. Instead of RZA being like, ‘What up man,’ we just started rapping. I was like, ‘This is crazy, yo.’
“That’s how you say what’s up. Out of all the other stuff that’s happened over the last couple of years with the lockdown, I’m so grateful we were able to lock in before the world shifted and changed. All of our energies met up, and to the chambers of the Wu-Tang Clan, made sure we made numerous, numerous songs. We’re very honored to be here.”
When it came to getting in the booth with someone of RZA’s lyrical caliber, none of the Flatbush Zombies were concerned they couldn’t rise to the occasion.
“If you get into a room with somebody, you supposed to be there,” Juice says. “That don’t happen by accident. That’s the first thing. I felt like when RZA was talking to us, we was talking to our family off rip. I didn’t feel intimidated at all. In fact, he made it real easy. I feel like that’s why we was there — to show and prove.”
Architect adds, “I was gonna say the same thing. If we didn’t have a conversation probably and we was on some weird industry shit and just sat down and played the beat, maybe. But we conversed and we talked. He asked us questions. That’s the thing too. Sometimes when you’re the youth, you feel like you’re the one always asking questions, but he made us feel like he wanted to understand how our brain worked and we were just picking each other’s brains, trying to figure shit out.”
Attendees were also treated to a special screening of the video for “Quentin Tarantino,” another Flatbush Zombies collaboration featuring production from RZA and Prince Paul. Again, the track is miles away from the homogenized pop-rap that’s currently dominating the Billboard Hot 100, of course something that was by design. RZA specifically wanted to collaborate with Flatbush Zombies because of their uniqueness in the space.
“Hip Hop is beautiful, but there’s more of the same than variation,” RZA explains. “You can sometimes play 10 songs back to back in Hip Hop and you can’t tell even tell who’s who because everybody’s chasing the same thing. Every once in a while, there’s a crew who are self-sufficient, self sustained and self confident in what they do. This crew is that. When I did the Gravediggaz, there was a lot of labels and companies wasn’t looking for that type of Hip Hop.
“It took a label like G Street that had reggae artists, P.M. Dawn, Jungle Brothers … they had a diverse crew of talent anyway, so they brought the Gravediggaz in, and would you believe the album went gold? That means there was an audience waiting for something like this.”
RZA then recalled touring with Public Enemy, Ice Cube, Biohazard and Gravediggaz, pointing to the need for diversity in Hip Hop.
“Hip Hop gotta have all this energy in it, all the different facets,” he added. “Some facets are missing, but Flatbush Zombies lyrical talent and business acumen? They got it tight. You want some healthy juice? You can head over to Brooklyn. And their flows. When I was listening to Zombie Juice, he’s from Brooklyn, but he still has a tonation that sounds both East Coast and West Coast. And in both of those songs, he told you a story — a complete story from beginning to end in both songs — within a small frame of time.
“You can take those stories and make a movie out of them. That’s the lyrical content that’s being compressed within the ideas. You listen to Erik especially on that Tarantino song, what is that? 32 bars? Not just 32 bars, four different flows. He didn’t keep it monotonous. I appreciate their talents. I appreciate them as young artists. I want to see them go far. That’s an easy cosign for me.”
In addition to his previously announced RZA vs. Bobby Digital project, RZA is also planning a separate, DJ Scratch-produced solo album titled Saturday Afternoon Kung Fu Theater, named after his weekly streaming series. Meanwhile, “Quentin Tarantino” is expected to arrive on Friday (December 17). Until then, check out the “Plug Addicts” video above.