When I told my best friend that I was going to the Flatbush Zombies show on Tuesday, she accused me of being late to the party. Well, I’m only three years late. That’s just about punctual at my pace. My buddies have been going to their shows for about 2 years, and it somehow took me this long to catch them live. I would like to point out that I was out of the country for a cumulative amount of 1.5 years, if that’s any consolation (for myself). I’d also like to point out that I’m incredibly lame. I’m also not “with it.” I’d even go so far as to say I am “without it.”
Not only was this my first Flatbush Zombies show, this was my first hip-hop show period, unless you count that one I went to on accident when I was 12, but I don’t. In all my pre-show excitement, I didn’t really realize that it was my first hip-hop show until I was squashed between testosterone-loaded teens and it occurred to me: “I have no idea what to expect from this.” I began asking myself a series of embarrassing questions like: “how do people dance at hip-hop shows?” “Will there be ‘grinding,’ ‘twerking,’ or ‘freaking?’” “Is ‘freaking’ even a thing?” “Am I really this much of a herb?” Yes. Yes I am.
In any case, this herb had a great time. Hot 97’s Peter Rosenberg opened the show, spinning all the best in old school hip-hop. He did get a little preachy with his old-timer hip-hop sermon, but that’s to be expected. Following Rosenberg was Spanish Harlem native Bodega Bamz, a.k.a. PAPI. He made sense as an opener for a few reasons, namely his NYC origin and recent collaboration with Flatbush Zombies on “Thrilla.” Bodega Bamz put on an energetic performance and has a surprisingly large following. There were more than a few kids next me that knew all his lyrics in both English and Spanish.
Flatbush Zombies more than filled their slot as the headliners. Performing one of the last shows of their pan US tour promoting the new Better Off Dead mixtape, they didn’t pull a single punch. The show was perfect from start to finish, to the point that it seemed choreographed and spontaneous at the same time. The energy of their set was undeniably visceral and downright exciting. The experience was doubly compelling because for me, it was a new one, and moreover, because the crowd engulfing me was so energized by the music. Everyone seemed to know every beat, breakdown, and lyric (except for me of course). Bodega Bamz joined the FBZ boys for their second to last song, and they reappeared for an encore, inviting the crowd on stage. The whole show was a fucking blast.
As I left, a bit smelly and a lot sweaty, I thought of something:
“Can someone be fashionably late to the party?”
Probably not, but who gives a shit?