Pro Era, Flatbush Zombies, and The Underachievers drop their debut collaboration Escape From New York this Friday.
New York?s three finest rap collectives join forces
Beast Coast is a hip-hop supergroup made up of Brooklyn rap crews Pro Era, Flatbush Zombies, and The Underachievers. While these three have collaborated and toured together countless times, their upcoming album Escape From New York marks their first release as a fully formed group.
Left to right: Kirk Knight, Erick the Architect, Powers Pleasant, AKTHESAVIOR, Issa Gold, Zombie Juice, CJ Fly, Nyck Caution, Joey Bada$$, Meechy Darko
Beast Coast Started As A Movement
Until they officially united this year, Beast Coast was less a defined collective and more a movement representing a new generation of conscious and spiritually attuned rappers reclaiming New York?s stake to the hip-hop throne.
The term was first heard on Joey Bada$$?s breakout 2012 mixtape 1999, where he boldly announced ?the return of the Beast Coast,? a nod to his throwback ?90s sound and the legendary New York rappers from that era.
Joey Bada$$?s acclaimed debut mixtape
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As far as how the group came to be, Issa Gold of the Underachievers credits Pro Era founder Capital STEEZ, saying ?Beast Coast wouldn?t exist without him. He was the one who brought the idea to me, that we needed to link all groups,? leading to the Beast Coastal Tour in 2013.
A flyer for the 2013 ?Beast Coastal Tour?
In a Complex interview that same year, Issa told the magazine ?we?ll probably do a Beast Coast album soon,? but it hasn?t happened ? until now.
So Who?s All In Beast Coast?
Pro Era, short for Progressive Era, is a New York based collective established in 2011. It was founded by Joey Bada$$, CJ Fly, Powers Pleasant, and Capital STEEZ, who tragically took his own life in 2012, less than a year after the release of his debut mixtape Amerikkkan Koruption.
A core member and arguably the driving force behind the Pro Era and Beast Coast movements, his legacy is celebrated every year at the STEEZ Day festival.
As a collective, Pro Era has released several group mixtapes and most members have put out a few solid solo projects as well.
First known for a boom bap sound reminiscent of conscious New York rap from the ?90s, they?ve consistently made waves in the rap game, with Malia Obama even setting the internet ablaze by rocking a PE shirt in 2015.
Of its rumored 47 members, just 5 are part of Beast Coast, including Joey Bada$$, CJ Fly, Kirk Knight, Nyck Caution, and producer Powers Pleasant. Here?s a quick breakdown of each of them:
Joey Bada$$ ? The group?s de facto leader with multiple acclaimed mixtapes (1999, Rejex, Summer Knights) as well as albums B4.DA.$$ and All Amerikkkan Bada$$. Known for killer wordplay and razor-sharp bars over boom bap beats.
Kirk Knight ? Rapper and beat-maker with multiple (mostly) self-produced albums under his belt (Late Knight Special, Black Noise, and IIWII). Best known for his production on A$AP Ferg?s ?Plain Jane? and Joey?s ?Devastated,? he also has the majority of production credits across all of Pro Era?s discography. This dude doesn?t sleep.
Nyck Caution ? Rapper best known for his mixtape Disguise the Limit and collaborative EP with Kirk Knight, cleverly titled Nyck @ Knight.
Powers Pleasant ? Producer of the two lead singles from Escape From New York, ?Left Hand? and ?Coast/Clear.? Best known for his production on Joey?s songs ?Devastated? and ?Y U Don?t Love Me,? as well as other Pro Era tracks.
CJ Fly ? Rapper who released his first mixtape, The Way Eye See It, in 2013, followed by his debut album Flytrap in 2016.
The Flatbush Zombies
Composed of Meechy Darko, Zombie Juice, and Erick the Architect, The Flatbush Zombies have been an unstoppable force in New York?s underground rap scene since 2012. Known for psychedelic high octane raps, their mixtapes D.R.U.G.S. and BetterOffDead earned them a cult following, proceeded by their debut album 3001: A Laced Odyssey and Vacation In Hell in 2018.
The zombies have been close with The Underachievers since they were kids and the two even formed their own group called Clockwork Indigo. Fully produced by Erick The Architect, their go-to beat-maker, the Clockwork Indigo EP dropped in 2014:
Also hailing from the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, the Underachievers is made up of rappers AKTHESAVIOR and Issa Gold. The duo signed to Flying Lotus?s Brainfeeder label in 2012 just before releasing their breakout mixtape Indigoism.
They identify as ?indigos,? referring to a 1970?s movement that spoke of a new breed of innately spiritual children with indigo-colored auras and extraordinarily strong intuitions. Heavily inspired by their beliefs, their raps are full of references to spirituality, the third eye, karma, and chakras.
Issa Gold claims to have told Capital STEEZ about the Indigo philosophy in 2012, after which STEEZ enlightened the rest of Pro Era who embraced the ideology, with Joey even naming his daughter Indigo.
The trippy duo has released a bunch of mixtapes and four albums, Cellar Door: Terminus ut Exordium, Evermore: The Art of Duality, Renaissance, and After the Rain.
What To Expect From ?Escape From New York?
Escape From New York takes its name from a 1981 sci-fi action film set in a crime-ridden United States where Manhattan has been converted into a maximum security prison. While there?s no telling how much of the plot will be incorporated into the album, here?s what we know so far:
3 New Singles
Beast Coast has dropped three singles so far, ?Left Hand,? ?Coast Clear,? and my personal favorite, the reggae-inspired ?Snow In The Stadium.? Watch the video for ?Left Hand? below:
Big Tigger Basement Cypher
They also recorded a scorching hot freestyle hosted by Big Tigger of Rap City, a classic BET hip hop show popular in the early 2000s:
Stay up to date on the latest Beast Coast news with LSD25, a promotional video where the group poses as a news crew. Full of snippets and hilarious skits, you can watch it here:
At 13 songs and 47 minutes, the Beast Coast album drops tonight at 9 PM PST/12 AM EST.
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