Vacation in Hell by Flatbush Zombies: Review

April 6th was a major day for music releases. Everyone from Kali Uchis and Alina Baraz to Eric Bellinger and Cardi B released projects but the one I was most excited to hear was the Flatbush Zombies’ Vacation in Hell. The trio’s follow-up to their 2016 release, 3001: A Laced Odyssey boasts features from longtime collaborators Joey Bada$$, Nyck Caution, and A$AP Twelvyy, plus legends like Bun B and Jadakiss; and Dia, Portugal. The Man, Denzel Curry and Dave B.

The album opens with a “HELL-O”, a bold and energetic track that continues the group’s streak of having amazing intro tracks. Each member of the group gets a verse on this one and they effortlessly float over stellar production. The lyrics mention several familiar motifs for the trio: acid, mosh pits, Flatbush, and clever riffs on religion from Meechy Darko.

The second track, “Chunky”, is also really great. It’s a perfect example of the trio’s ability to rap about social and political issues while making an enjoyable song. The third track “Vacation” features Joey Bada$$. It’s not my favorite on the album although I enjoyed Joey and Meechy’s verses. The Kirk Knight produced “Big Shrimp” gives Meechy another opportunity to shine on the hook and includes solid verses from both Juice and Erick.

A few other stand out tracks for me were “Facts” featuring Jadakiss (one of my favorite rappers of all time), “Crown” featuring Portugal the Man (an unexpected but well fitting feature on the album), and the A$AP Yams tribute song “YouAreMySunshine” which was a deeply emotional track from Meech.

One of the downsides to this album is it’s length. At 19 tracks it’s a little on the long side and it was a bit hard to listen to the whole thing in one sitting as I usually do with their other projects. For comparison, 3001: A Laced Odyssey had only 12 tracks, and D.R.U.G.S. was slightly shorter at 16 tracks.

Overall this album showed a lot of growth for each member of the group. Juice, who was once criticized as a weak link, shows major improvement and is the highlight of many songs especially when he’s on the hook. Erick arc Elliott’s production continues to be unique and engaging while Meech provides witty lyricism that proves him to be one of the most massively underrated rappers especially coming out of New York.