Back in 2013 I stumbled across The Flatbush Zombies, more specifically the incredible mixtape that is BetterOffDEAD. Their unique production and the individuality in each members voice left a lasting impression on myself. Fast forward five years and we’re onto the groups second studio album, Vacation In Hell.
The track listing is a monster 19 tracks standing around the 80 minute mark, something I wasn’t a fan of from day dot. Unless you’re one of the very best in the industry, 80 minutes is too long for me. This problem can be proven with this album, there’s a lot of dull moments and far too many filler tracks. Had the group elected to take out some of the blander tracks on this album it would’ve given it a great boost.
Production wise it’s got highs and lows dotted all over the marathon album. Erick the Architect produced the majority of the album as always, but it feels like some of the spark of the old days has left the group, this missed that extra little something that the group had in the early mixtape days.
For all the negatives there are some massive positive points to look at. Headstone is likely to become the groups most successful song of the album and possibly their careers. The addictive Meechy Darko hook makes it a killer track with plenty of replay value. The group show unity and personality as they bounce off each other with clever lyricism throughout this track as well as some of the other quality bops, including Facts, Vacation and U&I.
Unlike their previous album 3001, this album had a welcome abundance of features, but much like the album in it’s entirety, they were hit and miss. Joey Bada$$ come through with some solid work as did Jadakiss but A$AP Twelveyy left everyone massively underwhelmed. The most disappointing moment of the album was when Denzel Curry left us all feeling flat, despite being one of the features I was most excited to hear on the album.
The highlight in terms of features comes from Portugal. The Man. It was a bit of a crazy inclusion on the album before hearing it, but it was a stroke of genius that proves Flatbush are capable of making some of the best tunes going as the bars from the trio blended with indie workings of one of the biggest bands in the world at this moment in time.
To cap all this off, there’s just too much wrong here to say this is the amazing album I wanted, the amazing album I expected. For everything that was right with this album it feels like there’s something wrong. Take out five or six tracks and this could be incredible, but all in all I was just left feeling empty.