The Wu-Tang-sized crew headlines an outdoor concert at Express Live on Saturday, Aug. 10
Beast Coast didn’t emerge from one of those obnoxious, engagement-driving Twitter threads that are so prevalent these days (i.e. “improve a band by adding one letter” where Best Coast becomes Beast Coast). Rather, the hip-hop collective, which gathers members from a trio of Brooklyn rap groups — Pro Era (Joey Bada$$, CJ Fly, Kirk Knight, Nyck Caution, Powers Pleasant), Flatbush Zombies (Meechy Darko, Erick the Architect, Zombie Juice) and the Underachievers (Issa Gold and AK the Savior) — has been plying its trade since the late 1990s, most recently on Escape from New York, released earlier this year.
Of course, much has changed in the years since the Wu-Tang-sized crew debuted. Joey Bada$$ broke out as a minor star, in addition to ghostwriting for Post Malone (allegedly!) and landing a recurring role on the TV series “Mr. Robot.” Meanwhile, Flatbush Zombies drifted from the throwback boom-bap of its youth, embracing trap with the sharply ferocious Vacation in Hell, from 2018. Indeed, the title of Escape could rightly be taken at face value, doubling as an effort by the rappers to place some distance between this incarnation of the group and its earliest years.
The evolution isn’t a complete success, though. The MCs frequently jostle for time in the spotlight, leading to too many condensed verses and a plethora of wildly overcrowded songs. It’s a democratic approach, sure, but the best moments emerge when someone wrests control of a track, most often Bada$$, whose charisma is matched throughout by his effortless flow. Here’s hoping the players allow one another a little extra elbow room when the crew heads up an outdoor show at Express Live on Saturday, Aug. 10. If so, this one has the chance to be special.