9th Wonder Closes Out An Incredible Year With More Than 40 Beats & Songs
Grammy Award-winning producer and Jamla Records founder, 9th Wonder returns with his third-annual solo project, Zion III. The esteemed professor has had a productive 2018, having produced (with his Soul Council ensemble) the entirety of Black Thought’s Streams of Thought, Vol. 1, as well as quarterbacking the marvelous Jamla Is the Squad II compilation. In early 2019, he and the Council will produce Smif-N-Wessun’s The All album, having just released its first music video, “Let It Go.” That visual premiered at Ambrosia For Heads.
For those that may dismiss the Zion series is simply a yearly beat dump, consider this: last year’s Zion II warranted a limited vinyl pressing for Record Store Day. These collections include recognizable gems he placed on albums, as well as unreleased joints. This time around, he decided to give Jamla’s newest spitters, King Draft and Swank, a chance to really shine on five tracks. There are more than 40 inclusions altogether, offering some noteworthy instrumental Hip-Hop.
If you didn’t catch them on the Jamla Is the Squad II comp, then their raw verses on “To Jersey,” “So Familiar,” “Whole Life,” “Lonely Nights,” and “Signs” should make it clear why they’re getting the spotlight here. Young King kicks the first bars of the album and he sparks it with, “David Blaine on the M-I-C / The flash make ‘em forget, like MIB / C’est la vie / Car crash couldn’t interrupt my chi / I stay centered like ‘hike’ on three.” Swank matches witty wordplay with bars like, “Spit dope sh*t / Whip pot, broke wrist / Ni**a so sick I’m in the ER / Whoever you think sick, I’m that just add an ‘er.’”
As you would expect from the Little Brother co-founder, the beats are soulful and literally filled with Soul samples and vocal snippets from the same genre. He follows the classic formula of hard boom-bap drums and chilled-out loops. For MCs seeking turnkey beats to build their skills with, fans looking for great holiday party background musics, or Jamla Heads looking for an introduction to the new wave, Zion III is it.