Flatbush Zombies and Bodega Bamz have been all over the country for their “Better Off Dead” tour – but there is no place like home. NYC was ready to welcome back their hometown heroes at Irving Plaza for the last night of the tour.
To get the crowd ready, Hot97 DJ and New York hip hop scene staple Peter Rosenberg broke out his vinyl. He started with some education about “real New York hip hop” playing the original versions of samples then fading into the tracks that made them famous. He shouted out Pro Era, Joey Bada$$, Bodega and the Zombies – all who where featured on his New York Renaissance mixtape. It’s clear the man is rooting for a return of real street New York rap.
Bodega Bamz’s DJ took the stage and immediately dropped some trap beats, which transitioned nicely from Rosenberg’s New York classics. One by one girls came onto stage, facing the back with “TANBOYS” across their black jerseys. By the time Bamz came to the stage, the crowd of mostly teenage boys was going wild.
When Bamz played his hit “P.A.P.I.” people were slam dancing and moshpitting. Bamz had to stop and ask “Ain’t there any girls here?” to calm the boys down. And when Bamz talked, the crowd listened. 80% of people were rapping along to every song, and getting deep into the lyrics. It was surprising for a rapper mostly known for features, but the Tanboys were in the building, and the hometown crowd went hard for their boy.
After playing through some uptown drug-slinging anthems, Bamz brought out a guy waving two giant Dominican and Puerto Rican flags for his radio hit “Don Francisco”. The crowd knew it was coming and responded with wild trap mosh pit.
The Zombies took the stage to a creepy sonic introduction, with red lights and organs. I was nervous their would be another insane moshpit (trap pit?). But the scary sounds melded into funk and the crowd responded in turn. Flatbush Zombines started off playing tracks from D.R.U.G.S. that everyone knew, including the fan favorite “MRAZ.” But the songs off the new mixtape really resonated. When the Zombies played “Bliss” the chorus became a chant of “Fuck you” that was as cathartic as it was entertaining.
Like the ending to any good tour, both the acts came out for the encore. Meech proclaimed “This is my brother” with his arms around Bamz. Then, they launched into their mixtape hit “Thrilla” and proclaimed themselves the “New New York”. No one was arguing.
The show ended with the Zombies saying their there going to “turn up with the crowd” . As Migos’ “Hannah Montana” dropped hard and trap arms were in full effect, the Zombies jumped into the front row of the crowd. Bodega Bamz and his Tanboys took pictures and danced on stage. It was a tour-ending celebration, and it was well-deserved.