The undisputed champions of New York City’s underground hip-hop scene have been silently at work this summer. After releasing their first album, Escape from New York, in 2019, Brooklyn super-collective Beast Coast has been hard at work for the past few months. Three of the group’s talents — Joey Bada$$, Flatbush Zombies and Nyck Caution have released underappreciated mini-projects this summer. Each EP clocks in at under seven songs yet features authentic creativity that perhaps would be scrapped on a full studio album. 

 

Beast Coast

 

Honoring their New York City heritage, Beast Coast takes the hard piano and raspy lyricism of artists like Big L, Jay-Z and Biggie and meshes it with their modern, almost-psychedelic production skills. The result is a classic yet melancholic sound that allows each unique artist to leave their mark on the big apple, the birthplace of hip-hop. It will only take 45 minutes to listen to all three, so take a little time to appreciate the next great New York City MCs. 

 


 

Beast Coast - Joey-Bada$$

Joey Bada$$ – The Light Pack

Joey Bada$$ announced his return to the rap game after three silent years with The Light Pack. His last solo album, ALL AMERIKKKAN BADA$$, was released in 2017, and although he has worked on Escape from New York and featured on albums such as Westside Gunn’s Pray For Paris, his productivity has remained low. On The Light Pack, Bada$$ snaps out of his slump, using the three-song EP to reflect on his recent lack of motivation and mojo. 

Filled with light jazz beats and unbeatable bars, the project sounds similar to Joey Bada$$’ younger self. The simple rhythm and sinister lyrics of “The Light” match the tone of his debut mixtape, 1999, while the radiant raps of “Shine” reflect his 2015 album, B4.DA.$$. Joey also honors his New York heritage by sampling the vocals of Mobb Deep and Naughty By Nature, and by featuring fellow Yankee Pusha T on “No Explanation.” Though he may profess his resurrection on The Light Pack, Joey Bada$$ shows he has not abandoned his signature style. 

Joey Bada$$ crafted his unique sound at Edmund R. Murrow High School in Midwood, Brooklyn. There he met the late Capital STEEZ, producer Powers Pleasant, and fellow rappers CJ Fly and Dirty Sanchez and eventually went on to form Pro-Era, a Brooklyn hip-hop collective with an eerie, bittersweet sound. Following the release of the aforementioned “1999,” Pro-Era was devastated by the suicide of Capital Steez in 2012. 

Despite this tragic loss, Joey has been able to channel his emotions into dark and twisting lyrics that elevate his storytelling ability. On The Light Pack, the original New York Bada$$ shows bravely through creative bars and simple choruses, yet the Pro-Era legend’s innovative mind has matured and evolved.

 

 


 

Beast Coast - Flatbush Zombies

Flatbush Zombies – now, more than ever

The terrifying trio of Meechy Darko, Zombie Juice and Erick the Architect speak on both the struggle and serendipity of fame on now, more than ever. Released in early June, the project focuses on how the Flatbush Zombies are coping with the Black Lives Matter movement and confronting the broken systems around them. The EP begins with “herb,” a haunting and convoluted song that primarily focuses on the trio’s love for marijuana. As the project progresses, the loud, graphic production gives way to a slower, older style. Along with the sonic change, the Zombies begin to rap more reflectively. Tracks like “blessings” and “when i’m gone” feature Flatbush members struggling with the fast-paced lifestyle that fame has brought them. 

The EP’s rough yet real appeal contrasts the group’s last album, Vacation in Hell. On “now, more than ever,” Erick the Architect favors the distorted, psychedelic production reminiscent of Flatbush’s early work. Meechy Darko’s raspy authenticity reigns over verse after verse, adding to the gritty sound of the album. Meanwhile, Zombie Juice features on the lowkey songs, describing personal problems with money, music and fame. 

The Flatbush Zombies have been making music together since 2010, when Erick convinced his long-time friends to form a rap group. Growing up in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, the trio has known and worked with fellow Beast Coast members The Underachievers and Joey Bada$$ since grade school. Influenced by tragedy and a love for psychedelics, the supergroup’s music can be both energetic and empathetic.Whether they are performing solo or together, Beast Coast has mastered the bold yet bouncy Brooklyn sound. 

 

 


 

Nyck Caution

Nyck Caution – Open Flame

His name might not be as prominent as other Beast Coast members, but Nyck Caution’s Open Flame solidifies his stake in the next era of New York Music. He has worked closely with Pro-Era since their creation, yet Caution appears to take on the younger brother role in the group. In fact, this five-song EP has a younger, newer sound altogether. Nyck’s music tends to be more trap-focused than that of his colleagues, yet it still has the trademark trippiness of New York City hip-hop. The combination of swirling melodies and heavy drums is most evident on the tracks “Demons Don’t Take Off From Work” and “More Than I Deserve.”

Caution has been making music on and off since 2011, though his first official Pro-Era mixtape, Disguise The Limit was released in 2016. He has worked closely with the group since the beginning, being only one grade below Joey Bada$$ and Capital Steez at Edmund R. Murrow High School. Just like the rest of Beast Coast, Nyck is loud and proud about his Brooklyn upbringing throughout the EP, especially on “Margot Robbie,” rapping “New York, New York City Kid.”

Caution has developed a unique sound of his own. Citing 50 Cent, Eminem, Lil Wayne and more as his inspirations, he twists together samples from the 1990s, lyricism from the early 2000s and trap drums from the 2010s. He manages to match the eerie, swirling sound of his supergroup, yet transform it for a trap-obsessed audience. So don’t take Nyck Caution’s music for granted, and certainly don’t overlook this new EP.

 

 


 

They’re as underappreciated as they are unique. With a broad range of talent, Beast Coast creates one-of-a-kind music that highlights the reasons for their success. The only thing that challenges their reign over the New York City underground scene is the subway, and their influence reaches far further than Jersey. By listening to The Light Pack, now, more than ever, and Open Flame, you’ll meet some of the masters behind the psychedelic music mafia. Take a trip and give a listen to the newest legends of the east, Beast Coast.