Flatbush Zombies recently dropped off their brand new single “Afterlife,” which featured key contributions from acclaimed musician James Blake. And while Blake is no stranger to hip-hop music, having worked with artists like Travis Scott, Metro Boomin, and Kendrick Lamar, his chemistry with Flatbush Zombies appears to go beyond his previous rap endeavors. Speaking with Complex, who connected with the Zombies for an extensive conversation, Erick Arc Elliott, Zombie Juice, and Meechy Dark recently opened up about their creative partnership with Blake, who Meechy affectionately refers to as “the fourth member.”
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As Erick reveals, he originally met James Blake at a concert — where a sad but amusing mix-up occurred in the process. Explaining that he was temporarily confined to a wheelchair following a hernia surgery, Erick found himself crossing paths with Blake. “I met him in a wheelchair, and he was like, ‘Oh, my God. I can’t believe I didn’t know this about you, that you were handicapped. I’m supposed to be this big fan, and I didn’t know that,'” reflects Erick. “I’m like, ‘I’m not handicapped, I’m just going through some shit right now.’ He’s like, ‘Bro, I felt so bad.’”
Before long, the pair began working together, and eventually, Blake asked if he could meet the rest of the Zombies to concoct a few jams. “I gave him the okay and he came to New York,” continues Erick. “We all sat in Electric Garden and we cranked out pretty much an album’s worth of music within a week and half.”
Insofar as deeper details on the upcoming project, Erick remained relatively quiet on that front. “Of course, he didn’t do [the album] by himself, but this was the most that I’ve ever let anyone work on something for us, so I think that all of our writing became stronger,” he teases. “They’re in a different space with his piano skill and his understanding of sound and structure. There are some tracks that he and I did, or him and I and Dominic Maker from Mount Kimbie. It’s a good mixture of everything. That’s all I can tell you.”
For more from the Flatbush Zombies, be sure to head over to Complex and peep the entire interview right here.