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"I can't forget about Larry David!" The rapper Meechy Darko is ruing the fact that he forgot to name-check the Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm creator when asked to name his fantasy artistic parents. One-third of the upcoming rap trio Flatbush Zombies, he's sprawled out on a mattress on the floor of the crew's weed-scented Zombie Mansion tucked away in deepest Flatbush, Brooklyn. Along with be-bearded MC Juice and beat-maker Erick Arc Elliot, Darko has seen his profile bloom off the back of the YouTube-released video to the fantastically-titled song "Thug Waffle." In that flick the group manages to channel a vibe somewhere between the updated NYC styles of A$AP Rocky and the gritty, early-'90s home-grown sound of borough ambassadors like the Boot Camp Clik. It's a potent combination, and one that positions the Zombies at the forefront of the next wave of New York rap talent.
Along with the breakfast-and-weed-saturated flick to "Thug Waffle," the group also received a boost when Internet phenom Lana Del Rey confessed to Hive that she was digging their sound. So ahead of the Zombies' Irving Plaza show supporting A$AP Rocky tonight, Feb 1, Hive crashed at the Zombie Mansion and discovered the grisly details about how the group would celebrate their own funeral, their appreciation of Jesus-based Internet artwork, and discovered just how smitten they are with a certain Ms. Del Rey.
"It was the song 'Born To Die.' I cried for the first time in three years when I heard that."
First of all, can you introduce yourselves?
Meechy Darko: My name is Meechy Darko aka Meechy Soloman the Great aka Sugar Dick Daddy With The Candy Nuts aka I Love Lana Del Rey.
Juice: I'm Juice. I also love Lana Del Rey.
Erick Arc Elliot: I'm Erick, I produce.
How did the infatuation with Lana Del Rey start?
MD: It was the song "Born To Die." I cried for the first time in three years when I heard that. I was in the living room in front of all my friends but I didn't care. It's a pretty good song. She's fuckin' amazing.
J: Actually, me and this guy Dash were also dancing to Childish Gambino in the living room this morning. We were checking it out for the first time. It was funny, it was cool.
How would a Flatbush Zombies and Childish Gambino collaboration sound like?
MD: Very energetic, animated as fuck.
J: You've got to see us perform… I've seen his video and he looks fuckin' animated. I can tell we'd clash in a good way.
You're performing with A$AP Rocky and Danny Brown tonight. What can people expect from a Flatbush Zombies live show?
MD: I mean it's a lot of energy. We don't wear costumes or anything -- not yet at least -- and there's no zombies on stage or much in the way of smoke machines. Pure energy is all we've got at this point.
If budget wasn't an issue, what would the ultimate Flatbush Zombies live show consist of?
MD: There would be zombies, demons, devils, angels -- all that good shit.
J: Plus blood and guts.
MD: And cemetery scenes.
In "Thug Waffle" you talk about getting your own coffin even though you're not dead yet. How would you like your funeral to be?
MD: Honestly, I'm not with the mourning and the crying and the whole "Let's cry over someone who's gone to a better place" thing. You know that shit that they do to the animals after you hunt them? Taxidermy, I think it is? I want that, in the club, with me just standing there pointing with my arm out at the entrance; I'd be pointing at everyone coming in and there would be a sign behind me telling everyone to have fun -- drunk, smoke, do what you want. I don't care what they do with my body after that.
J: [While motioning to decapitate himself.] I actually want my head to get chopped off like the late, great Timothy Leary. And I would love them to play my favorite songs like Michael Jackson's "We Are The World." I really want there to be some motivational shit at my funeral, you know? People need to understand that when you die you're crossing over into another realm and it's not a bad thing.
MD: You don't have to pay bills when you die. You don't owe Uncle Sam shit. It's a good life.
Are there any songs you'd ban at your funeral?
J: Soulja Boy.
MD: [After a pause.] He answered that.
So how did the name Flatbush Zombies come about?
J: I think we were just talking about naming ourselves something and it was just like we loved zombies growing up and we're actually from Flatbush Avenue and we wanted to represent our life.
MD: Nothing's more suitable, to be honest. We are zombies, we're from Flatbush -- it's not a thought process, it's what we are. I'm Flatbush born and raised.
What's your earliest memory of growing up in Flatbush?
MD: Probably block parties in the '90s, opening the fire hydrants on the hot ass 99-degree days -- Erick's father used to open up the hydrant illegally, like a goon, like on some fuck-the-cops shit. It was like a Spike Lee Do the Right Thing movie, like rough but fun at the same time. I was three, four, five-years-old at that time; they stopped the block parties when we were teenagers 'cause too many people were doing dumb shit, like someone always fucked shit up. But I remember the ice cream truck coming up the block, just all the nostalgia.
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What about at school? What were you guys like then?
MD: Nothing. I don't like school. I liked the women at school. There was a girl in pre-K; she was light-skinned of course, her name was Cecily or some shit, and she had long curly hair and my friend Peter was her boyfriend and he also had long curly hair, so I was just kicked out. She was my earliest crush. I have no idea where she is now. My new crush is Lana Del Rey.
"A Flatbush Zombie waffle would me made with weed butter and be weed-friendly."
So Meechy, if you got to meet Lana Del Rey, how would you go about seducing her?
MD: My shit would be I'd get her in the elevator. It's very intimate in there. I'd grab her ass, lick her face or some shit. I'm not really good at the romantic stuff.
Do you think she'd enjoy having her ass grabbed?
MD: If she likes zombies she'd like that stuff. Don't get me wrong though, I like romance with the right woman.
Since the video for "Thug Waffle" started to catch on, have you found people recognizing you when you're out and about?
MD: It's been kinda crazy, actually. I thin the main attraction of the video is not our faces but [Juice's] beard. Sometimes people stop us and refer to the beard as the Flatbush Zombie. At this rate the beard will go solo -- it's own TV show, talk show, all of that.
What's the weirdest thing that someone's said to you when they recognize you in public?
MD: This one guy saw me on the train and he said, "Hey, you're the Brooklyn Zombies, right?" I was like, "No, I'm in the Flatbush Zombies." Then he goes, "Hey, man, you know they have bed bugs in New York and you really shouldn't sit on the bench on the subway." I was like, the motherfucker told me about bed bugs while I'm sitting tired as fuck on a bench at four in the morning? But most people look at you and know who you are but don't say anything. They just stare. And I'm the guy that stares back.
How does the staring contest normally go?
MD: With me it doesn't last long 'cause I'm a mean-looking guy. So it's usually about five seconds.
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So where does the zombie infatuation originally come from?
MD: Return Of The Living Dead really. Then before that video games, like Zombies are My Neighbors, Ghouls and Ghosts, Resident Evil back in the Playstation days … But the movie really got us loving zombies a lot lot lot! They're fuckin' dead! You can't really do much to them but shoot them in the head. They're infectious, too, that's what I like about them. And apparently we're infectious too, like the song "Thug Waffle."
Who named the song "Thug Waffle"? What's the reference behind it?
E: Can I answer this one? It's more of a story than a meaning. We were literally hungry, probably stoned, and it's really early in the mining and Meech was like, "Fuck pancakes, I want a thug waffle!" When I first sent them the record it was titled "Thug Pancakes."
MD: Fuck pancakes, man!
J: I like Belgian waffles.
MD: I like chocolate chips on them, too.
What would a signature Flatbush Zombies waffle consist of?
MD: A Flatbush Zombie waffle would be made with weed butter and be weed-friendly.
J: And it would have chocolate chips on top.
MD: That's it.
Would you accept a sponsorship deal with a waffle maker?
MD: Roscoes House of Chicken and Waffles should just send us some shirts and look out for us when we go there.
J: Send us some shirts and I'll wear them every other Sunday.
You guys engage in a lot of banter while you're talking. Do you give each other much feedback or criticism when you're recording music together?
J: Yeah, he tells me I'm shit every time I record.
MD: It's like if I feel I know Erick could say a word better, I'll be like, "Yo, man, say that like Erick would say it." I think a lot of rappers in groups always try to compete but we're like brothers and shit so it's more organic than the average rap group. It's not some Leaders of the New School shit.
The beard could be Busta though …
MD: The beard is Busta! But, nah, we have a good process, we know each other. We've known each other since before the music.
J: It's like my grandmother still thinks I'm a singer! She wants me to come and sing at her church!
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Do you have a good singing voice?
J: I actually have the vocal chords of the offspring of R Kelly and Stevie Wonder.
MD: Wow, that's a hell of a nigga right there!
What musical parents would you and Erick say you're the offspring off?
MD: I'm more of the offspring of … I would like to say maybe a little Biggie Smalls -- I know that's an oxymoron or some shit right there -- so like a little midget Biggie, add a little dash of Jimi Hendrix, and then a little hint of some Bob Marley and you sprinkle it all with some Shawn Michaels, "H.B.K.," living legend, and there you have Meechy.
Erick, can you follow that?
E: I'd say some Isaac Hayes, 'cause he's just the fuckin' man. And then maybe some Mos Def, to put some hip-hop shit in there, 'cause I feel like Mos puts out some of the best music as far as hip-hop is concerned.
Do you have any final words for anyone reading this?
MD: Yeah, secret teachings of all ages. It's all a matter of perspective.
J: Oh yeah, secret teachings of all ages.
E: Spirit science.
MD: I just want people to know those phrases: Secret teachers of all ages; spirit science; open your mind; be yourself. Go search for those terms. That's all I ask of you.