This Documentary Portrays Zion I As An Enduring Underground Hip Hop Voice (Video)
Zion I is one of the only Underground Hip-Hop artists who were active in the DIY 1990s and remain so today. Like Talib Kweli, Dilated Peoples, and Atmosphere, and a few others, Oakland, California-based Zion I has stayed the course and remained true to their messages and platform in the 12″ vinyl and cassette tape glory years. While producer Amp Live has stepped out of the day-to-day duties of the group, while remaining forever tied to Zion I, Zumbi (fka MC Zion) was on hand to release The Labyrinth in 2016, as well as Mikos Da Gawd collaborative mixtape Stay Woke.
In ’17, for The Boombox Collection: Zion I, Zumbi looks at the group’s place in things. He admits that Zion I will never be “accepted in the hood,” despite representing the same Oakland as Too Short, Tha Luniz, and others. He explains that a prominent manager once told him that using words like “nigga” and “bitch” would help cement that credibility, but the duo refused to assimilate. Zumbi also details that despite eventually becoming one of the more prolific MCs, he was embarrassed by the sound of his voice. This documentary, in a succinct 10 minutes, tells the story of a group that maintains history with DJ J. Period, The Grouch, and even Short Dog. You can Zion I at home, at work, and eventually giving the kind of performance that’s sustained them 20 years and counting.
This documentary is directed by Mohammad Gorjestani.
This month, Zion I and Locksmith released the song “Peace” a tribute to slain Mob Figaz member Tha Jacka:
Zion I worked with the late MC on song “Dream” by Ampachino.