Zion I

Zion I

Zion I

Biography

This duo of genre-bender pride has made a name for itself on the Bay Area scene by successfully mixing spiritualism and hip-hop. Oakland's MC Zumbi and DJ/producer Amp Live blend hip-hop and trip-hop beats with lyrics focused on a message of unity, hope, and spiritual awareness. Although Zion I operates out of Berkeley, the pair originally met in Atlanta, making their music difficult to classify as strictly West Coast hip-hop. Their musical style makes them even harder to define. With a style that borrows from hip-hop, trance, drum'n'bass, and reggae, Zion I's style is equally mystical and mystifying.

Zumbi and Amp Live formed Zion I in Oakland, CA in 1996, and produced several self-released cassettes. The duo slowly made inroads while opening for rap royalty like De La Soul, Rakim, and Run-D.M.C. Their debut album, Mind Over Matter, was released by Ground Control Records in May of 2000 and featured tracks from their previous cassettes and singles, as well as collaborations with fellow Bay Area rappers Rasco, Planet Asia, and the Grouch. This was also the only Zion I album to feature DJ K-Genius, who subsequently left the group. Sophomore album Deep Water Slang was scheduled for release in 2002, but its distributor Nu Gruv Alliance shuttered, and the album was delayed until 2003, when it was reconfigured and released as Deep Water Slang V2.0 on Raptivism Records. The album spawned several singles and music videos, and was more commercially successful than their debut. Zion I released several mixtapes on their own Live Up Records, leading up to the release of their third album, 2005's True & Livin'. The album featured guest appearances by Talib Kweli, Aesop Rock, and Del tha Funkee Homosapien. The duo's fourth album, Break a Dawn, was initially only released in Japan in 2006, but was subsequently released internationally. Also in 2006, Zion I recorded Heroes in the City of Dope, a collaborative album with the Grouch, which Om Records released toward the end of the year.

Following this album, Zion I released a few more mixtapes, and contributed guest appearances to albums by Ty, CLP, DJ Deckstream, and others. The Takeover, the duo's first album for Gold Dust Media, arrived in early 2009, and featured guest appearances by Brother Ali and Devin the Dude. Atomic Clock followed in 2010, also on Gold Dust Media. Heroes in the Healing of the Nation, Zion I's second full-length in collaboration with the Grouch, appeared on Z & G Music in 2011. Zion I released their 2012 full-length Shadowboxing on Live Up Records. Following this album, the prolific duo decided to focus their energy on creating EPs. The Vapors appeared in 2013, followed by The Masters of Ceremony and Libations (both 2014), as well as 2015's The Sun Moon and Stars.

Discography

Zion I - Enter The Woods

Zion I - Enter The Woods

Not On Label 1997
Zion I - Starship

Zion I - Starship

Not On Label 1998
Zion I - New Dimensions

Zion I - New Dimensions

418 Productions 1998
Zion I - Chapter 4

Zion I - Chapter 4

Not On Label 1999
Zion I - Mind Over Matter

Zion I - Mind Over Matter

Ground Control Records 2000
Zion I - Deep Water Slang V2.0

Zion I - Deep Water Slang V2.0

Raptivism 2002
Zion I - The Collection: DWS V3.0

Zion I - The Collection: DWS V3.0

Raptivism 2004
Zion I - Politicks: Collabs & B-Sides

Zion I - Politicks: Collabs & B-Sides

Live Up Records 2004
Zion I - True & Livin'

Zion I - True & Livin'

Live Up Records 2005
Zion I & The Grouch - Heroes In The City Of Dope

Zion I & The Grouch - Heroes In The City Of Dope

OM Hip Hop 2006
Zion-I - Break A Dawn

Zion-I - Break A Dawn

Handcuts Records 2006
Zion I - The Takeover

Zion I - The Takeover

Gold Dust Media 2008
Zion I - Atomic Clock

Zion I - Atomic Clock

Gold Dust Media 2010
Zion I & The Grouch - Heroes In The Healing Of The Nation

Zion I & The Grouch - Heroes In The Healing Of The Nation

Z & G Music 2011
Zion I - Shadowboxing

Zion I - Shadowboxing

Live Up Records 2012
Zion I - The Masters Of Ceremony EP

Zion I - The Masters Of Ceremony EP

Live Up Records 2014
Zion I - The Sun Moon And Stars

Zion I - The Sun Moon And Stars

Mind Over Matter 2015
Zion I - The Labyrinth

Zion I - The Labyrinth

Mind Over Matter 2016

Guest Appearances

Linkin Park - Reanimation
  • Plc.4 Mie Hæd

Linkin Park - Reanimation

Warner Bros. Records 2002
Deuce Eclipse - It's The Hour
  • Supanatural

Deuce Eclipse - It's The Hour

Oywalk Musika 2002
Black Panther - The Day After
  • Freestyle

Black Panther - The Day After

Not On Label 2003
Triple Threat - Many Styles
  • Hit Em Off

Triple Threat - Many Styles

Fat Beats 2003
Goapele - Even Closer
  • The Daze

Goapele - Even Closer

Columbia, Skyblaze Recordings 2004
Relic - Note To Self
  • Trust Yourself

Relic - Note To Self

Street Scholars Records 2004
Crown City Rockers - Earthtones
  • Without Love

Crown City Rockers - Earthtones

B Sides 2004
Traxamillion - The Slapp Addict
  • Top Down

Traxamillion - The Slapp Addict

Slapp Addicts Production 2006
Ty - Closer
  • Oh!

Ty - Closer

Big Dada Recordings 2006
Rico Pabón - Louder Than Fiction
  • Pa 'Fuera

Rico Pabón - Louder Than Fiction

Hard Knock Records 2006
Moe Pope & Headnodic - Megaphone
  • Ladies

Moe Pope & Headnodic - Megaphone

NatAural High Records 2008
Ise Lyfe - Prince Cometh
  • Thighbone

Ise Lyfe - Prince Cometh

7even89ine Music Recordings 2008
Bicasso - Rebel Musiq
  • Party Metroid

Bicasso - Rebel Musiq

Legendary Music 2009
The Jacka Of The Mob Figaz - Tear Gas
  • Dream

The Jacka Of The Mob Figaz - Tear Gas

SMC Recordings, The Artist Records 2009
Jern Eye - Vision
  • Get Right

Jern Eye - Vision

MYX Music Label 2009
Pro The Leader & Dopestyle - Hip Hop Depression
  • Back Wit A Vengence

Pro The Leader & Dopestyle - Hip Hop Depression

Pro's Laboratory Records, Know The Names Music Group 2010
Bambu - ...Exact Change... Reloaded
  • Swing

Bambu - ...Exact Change... Reloaded

Beatrock Music 2011
Latyrx - The Second Album
  • It's Time

Latyrx - The Second Album

Latyramid 2013
Bassnectar - Noise Vs Beauty
  • Lost In The Crowd

Bassnectar - Noise Vs Beauty

Amorphous Music 2014
Bassnectar - Into The Sun
  • Sideways

Bassnectar - Into The Sun

Amorphous Music 2015

Compilations

Various - Blastoff!
  • Mic Jones

Various - Blastoff!

Rocketship Records 1998
Various - Elephant Tracks
  • Sunshine, Beats, & Rhymez

Various - Elephant Tracks

Asian Improv Records 1999
Various - Rasco Presents 20,000 Leagues Under The Street - Volume I
  • Keep It Tight

Various - Rasco Presents 20,000 Leagues Under The Street - Volume I

Pockets Linted Entertainment 2000
Various - Pirate Fuckin' Radio 100
  • Inner Light (Icey Mix)

Various - Pirate Fuckin' Radio 100

Hip Hop Slam 2000
Various - The Drastic Jungle Project
  • Mathematics

Various - The Drastic Jungle Project

Insomniac, Inc. 2000
Various - Stray From The Pack (Quiet Biting Attack)
  • Why Waste Time

Various - Stray From The Pack (Quiet Biting Attack)

Stray Records 2000
Tha Slumplordz - The Yakuza In Don't Worry About The Caliber
  • (Bonus Track)

Tha Slumplordz - The Yakuza In Don't Worry About The Caliber

Stray Records 2000
Various - The Funky Precedent Vol. 2
  • We Got It

Various - The Funky Precedent Vol. 2

Matador 2001
Various - Shame The Devil
  • Free The Ghetto (Amandla)

Various - Shame The Devil

Freedom Fighter 2001
Various - The Bedford Files
  • Building Blocks

Various - The Bedford Files

Embedded 2002
Various - West Coast Lyricist Lounge
  • Warrior's Dance

Various - West Coast Lyricist Lounge

BP Metro 2003
The Prof. - The Prof. In... Con-Vexed
  • Spinning

The Prof. - The Prof. In... Con-Vexed

Nature Sounds 2003
Various - Hard Knock Records Presents What About Us
  • Dune

Various - Hard Knock Records Presents What About Us?

Hard Knock Records 2003
Various - Embedded Joints
  • Communification

Various - Embedded Joints

Embedded 2003
Various - No More Prisons 2
  • Locked

Various - No More Prisons 2

Raptivism 2003
Various - Motivate Movement
  • Ghost In A Shell

Various - Motivate Movement

Motivate Movement 2003
Various - Slam Bush
  • You're The Murdera

Various - Slam Bush

Hard Knock Records 2004
Planet Asia - Throwbacks
  • Critical (Remix)

Planet Asia - Throwbacks

Gold Chain Music 2004
Various - NBA 2K6: The Tracks
  • Ride

Various - NBA 2K6: The Tracks

Decon 2005
Various - CaliComm 2004
  • Ride Off In The Sunset

Various - CaliComm 2004

Decon 2005
DJ Ese - Side: Two
  • Running Man

DJ Ese - Side: Two

Embedded 2005
Various - Grandma's Boy: Music From The Motion Picture
  • Spinning

Various - Grandma's Boy: Music From The Motion Picture

Sony Music Soundtrax 2005
Dan The Automator - 2K7
  • Fade Away

Dan The Automator - 2K7

Decon 2006
L.I.F.E. Long - Cuts And Collabos, Part 2
  • Communification

L.I.F.E. Long - Cuts And Collabos, Part 2

Raptivism 2006
Various - Om: Hip Hop Volume One
  • Make U Fly

Various - Om: Hip Hop Volume One

OM Hip Hop 2007
Various - Too $hort & Friends: I Luv The Bay
  • Don't Lose Your Head

Various - Too $hort & Friends: I Luv The Bay

Up All Nite Records 2007
Various - Mac Dre Presents Thizz Nation Vol. 13
  • Ridin' Wit'

Various - Mac Dre Presents Thizz Nation Vol. 13

Thizz Entertainment 2007
Omina - Bust
  • Keep Move'n

Various - Omina Bust

Solsa Entertainment, Omina Laboratories 2007
Various - Om Hip Hop Volume 2
  • Lift Me Up (Traxamillion Remix)

Various - Om Hip Hop Volume 2

OM Records 2008
Mac Dre - Dre Day: July 5th 1970
  • Roll Wit

Mac Dre - Dre Day: July 5th 1970

Thizz Entertainment, Sumo Records 2008
Various - Live At KEXP, Volume Five
  • Antenna

Various - Live At KEXP, Volume Five

KEXP 2009
Seven-One - Going Back 2 Cali
  • Inner Light (Sev-Ski Remix)

Seven-One - Going Back 2 Cali

Righteously Exact Productions 2009
Various - The Early Years...
  • Bumps On A Log

Various - The Early Years...

Marinello Records 2009
Various - Yay Area Most Wanted Vol. 2: E-40 Charlie Hustle Edition
  • Don't Lose Your Head (Remix)

Various - Yay Area Most Wanted Vol. 2: E-40 Charlie Hustle Edition

Cartier Entertainment 2009
Various - Decon Presents Never Not Fresh
  • Ride

Various - Decon Presents Never Not Fresh

Decon 2010
Various - Stop Blindin' Me
  • Stop Blindin' Me

Various - Stop Blindin' Me

One Survival Movement 2010
Shady Nate - The Shady Bunch Vol. 2
  • Rise

Shady Nate - The Shady Bunch Vol. 2

Livewire Records 2010
EMPIRE Distribution - The Best Of 2011
  • Drop It On The 1

EMPIRE Distribution - The Best Of 2011

EMPIRE Distribution 2011
Mac Dre - Dre Mix
  • Roll Wit

Mac Dre - Dre Mix

Thizz Entertainment 2011
Various - Omina Laboratories Presents Hip Hop
  • Keep Moven

Various - Omina Laboratories Presents Hip Hop

Omina Laboratories 2012
Various - Mac Dre All Stars Tribute
  • Roll Wit

Various - Mac Dre All Stars Tribute

Thizz Music, B4 And Afta Records 2013
Various - General Hydroponics Volume One
  • Human Being

Various - General Hydroponics Volume One

Ineffable Records 2013