​Listen to Erick The Architect's 'Black Resilience' playlist - Music - Mixmag

​Listen to Erick The Architect's 'Black Resilience' playlist

Flatbush Zombies member Erick The Architect celebrates the arrival of his debut solo album with a playlist embodying 'Black Resilience'

  • Belle Richardson
  • 4 April 2024

Contrary to his name, Erick The Architect's art has a deconstructive element to it. Creatively explorative in nature, Erick seems to deconstruct ideology, sound, and boundaries through music. His curious intellect is found throughout his music, which is seasoned with probing questions and steeped in soul.

The multidisciplinary creative first made a name for himself as one third of Flatbush Zombies, a fiercely New York, strikingly psychedelic hip hop trio that tore onto the scene in the 2010s. Embracing the macabre, Flatbush Zombies took inspiration from Stanley Kubrick, the Grateful Dead, and their own experiences with depression.

Though continuing to work with Flatbush Zombies, Erick has branched off into a fruitful solo career in order to explore creative pursuits of his own. His kaleidoscopic taste in art has led him to traverse genres and collaborate with a spectrum of respected artists.

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Erick’s solo career has seen him release several EPs, building anticipation for his debut album, 'I've Never Been Here Before' which dropped in February. With themes of fearlessness, Black resilience, beauty in darkness and unity, the 16-track record spans a mix of hip hop, soul, dub, and psych and features production by James Blake, Linden Jay, and T Minus, and guest spots from Joey Bada$$, Westside Boogie, George Clinton, Channel Tres, Kimbra, Lalah Hathaway, RÜDE CÅT, Boy Boy, Pale Jay, and FARR.

Exploring his relationship to his Blackness, his art, and his mother’s passing with raw vulnerability and authenticity, Erick journeys boldly into unmapped territory, leaving a trail of firmly solidified steps in his wake.

To mark the release of his debut record, Erick The Architect has constructed a playlist of tracks embodying the spirit of 'Black Resilience' and spoken to us about how his 'I've Never Been Here Before' reflects the artist he is today.

You once said that, like a true New Yorker, you can’t swim or drive, in what other ways do you think growing up in a city like New York has shaped you?

I think you find ways to coexist no matter where you are. There’s a good sense of paranoia that's instilled in you once you grow up in a bustling city. You always have your head on a swivel. The other huge thing I gained from growing up in NYC is the adaptation of culture. Everyone is from somewhere different, and you can find so much about someone rather easily because we are all pursuing something everyday. It’s easy to find food from any culture under the sun, that also includes things like language and music as well.

And in what ways do you think your move to LA influences you today?

I think living in Los Angeles has brought me a new found sense of peace, being close to nature and (usually) in weather that I really enjoy.

The title of your latest album is ‘I’ve Never Been Here Before’, what do you mean by that?

On the surface, there’s the obvious— “I’ve Never Made A Solo Album Before”, but it is much deeper than that. I made this album over the course of five years or so. I had to live life in order for this album to be an accurate representation of what I’ve been going through. I’ve gained and lost so much over these past years, but I am actually OK with most of the things that aren’t present in my life anymore. I think the album really captivates my understanding of who I am as a whole person now.

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Your music and art often probe at life’s deep questions, what role does playfulness play in your life, if any right now?

I love to laugh, and I need a healthy dose of it to unplug from all the weird kinds of unsettling things that surround us everyday. I’ve always nourished my imagination to stay keen on being creative. Whether it’s games, cartoons, or anything that can help with tapping out sometimes.

I really enjoy listening to albums for the first time at the airport and on a plane. I usually save something I really wanted to pay attention to for a long flight. I think being all the way up there allows you to really sink into music and give your undivided attention and energy with a different kind of intention. It’s definitely one of my favorite places to listen to music.

Can you tell us about your playlist?

This playlist showcases a gamut of emotions as they relate to individuality and the Black experience.

'I've Never Been Here Before' is out now, get it here

Belle Richardson is Mixmag's Digital Intern, follow her on Twitter

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