Written by: Nancy Musinguzi
This past Thursday, New York City experienced one of the most iconic moments in music history when it witnessed the solidarity of hip-hop grow with depth as the New New York performed side by side on stage in the heart of Williamsburg. Sold out within moments of its announcement, the hometown heroes from Flatbush Zombies, A$AP Mob and Tan Boys headlined Converse’s Rubber Tracks show held at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, bringing in staggering numbers of young Beast Coast loyalists, hip-hop enthusiasts and trap lord geeks by the boat load, creating an impressive dynamic between crowd members.
Opening up the show were Brooklyn locals Suede Jury and Cavalier, setting the evening’s vibe at a chilly warmth with articulate flows, bars filled with metaphors for the ages, appealing to the soul-hop head lost amongst Zombie cult fans and Trap Lordians. Mosh pits were formed shortly after, and then became oceanic as soon as A$AP Nast and A$AP Twelvy hit the stage, repping Harlem over everything, assaulting ear drums with bone crushing trap beats, spine breaking 808’s, performing familiars and favorites like “Gotham City” and “Trillmatic” that transformed the space with dark and eerie aesthetics that literally set the stage for their downtown counterparts to follow suit. Zombie Juice came flying down the stairs descending to the stage, rushing from one end of the landing to there other, body overdrawn with enough adrenaline to resurrect the dead, thereafter zombie brothers Meechy Darko and Erick Arc Elliot joined in a collective mobbing of the stage and began a set that what would then be remembered as a memory for the ages.
A performance glorious enough only for the undead to appreciate, the Brooklyn collective brought on guest performer Bodega Bamz for their collaborative banger, “Thrilla,” of which illustrated how incredibly gifted New York City artists truly are. Harlem’s Don Francisco murdered his verse on the track, rapping with a gritty flow that could’ve made Big Pun smile like a proud P.A.P.I. The chemistry had between Bodega and FBZ was not only inspiring but also raw, honest and true, one that reverberated the beliefs of friends, family and fans that East Coast artists are still naturally inclined to embody the spirit of the Underground, despite their spiked success within the mainstream music industry.
Witnessing the raw moments had between A$AP Mob, Tan Boys and Flatbush Zombies provided the hard evidence for myself to finally establish a functioning faith in East Coast hip-hop. And in addition to my sentiments had on Pro Era, it is evident that the Beast Coast Movement is well underway in taking over the entire nation and is now moving listeners to declare similar conclusions about unity in hip-hop, eclectic lyricisms in rap music, and other various notions regarding creative collaboration and regional aesthetics in music making in and throughout NYC. Legendary nonetheless, praise is in order for Converse Rubber Tracks booking Harlem, Uptown, and Brooklyn all on the same bill.
Can this mean a possible Beast Coast Festival in NYC in the near future? With performances that could move Flatbush Zombie’s manager to proclaim the evening as, “one of the best performances to date,” post-Cochella and all, we could expect astounding developments made in each collective’s respective camps.