Even Through Changes, Zion I Continues To Push The Sound Of Hip-Hop Ahead (Videos)

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Throughout the 2000s, Zion I was a trusted source for progressively lyrical, forward-sounding Hip-Hop. Zumbi (f/k/a MC Zion) and Amp Live made important records like “Critical” and amassed a dedicated fanbase.

In early 2015, Amp stepped away from his dedicated producer’s role. The MC, Zumbi remains at the core of Zion I, with Live coming in and out to oversee projects, and produce here and there. As groups like Main Source, Black Sheep, and Compton’s Most Wanted have at times been reduced to one major contributor, can Zion I weather the same storm?

Last month’s Zion I album The Labyrinth indicates yes. Today, the outfit releases two music videos, “What We Gone’ Do” and “Sauce.”

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With a numbing low-end beat (by Decap), Zumbi goes in all the status of all things on the former. “Rotate with my strange pack / Kill questions, right, like Sajak / I fell down, and I came back / My crew down, and my gang Black,” he rhymes, while surrounded by frozen folks all around him. This is a song searching for hope, while drenched in reality.

“Sauce” is as advanced. With an Electronic beat (the kind Heads may associate with Zion I’s legacy), Zumbi stands at the seashore and compares his life to making a complex condiment. The flow is in the pocket here too, on a completely different sounding song.

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The Labyrinth released on Zion I’s own Mind Over Matter imprint.