With more than two-dozen albums, mixtapes, EP’s and vibrant collaborations, the Oakland based MC/Producer Zion I (a.k.a. Zumbi) is in the top echelon, as far asconscious party-rocking hip-hop. After years of collaboration with producer Amp Live and DJ K-Genius and other notables, the Oakland-based rapper/ songwriter has evolved as an independent touring artist.
His progressive stay-true-to-the-core lyricism is uniquely embraced across all genres of music and his collaborations, with some of the greatest in the industry, is an evolutionary norm for Zion I. From the reggae-rock giants Rebelution, to hip-hop nostalgia Too Short, along with Devin The Dude and The Roots MC, Black Thought, to EDM DJ extraordinaire, Bassnectar, heavy hitting rockers Linkin Park and alternative rock/reggae-rapper Matisyahu, Zion I continues’ to impress with soulful goods.
As an MC, Zion I emulates the purest form of hip-hop, bringing forth a socially conscious lyrical deliverance and high energy party-rockin’ live show that captivates his audience, making him a festival fan-favorite from coast to coast. The international touring artist has performed at some of the most reputable music festivals across the globe. Some of the more notable festivals include: Coachella, Rock the Bells, Treasure Island Music Fest, Lightning In A Bottle, Outside Lands, California Roots Music and Arts Festival, Hangout Music Festival, Splash Fest (Germany), HipHop Kemp (Czech Republic), Rifflandia (British Columbia), Sonic Bloom, Paid Dues, Snow Globe and most recently the urban lifestyle music and arts festival, Bay Area Vibez with Bassnectar, Nas and Damian Marley. Zion I toured the summer 2016 with Slightly Stoopid, SOJA, The Grouch and Eligh on The Return Of The Redeye tour.
Some of the many other artists Zion I has performed with include, Kendrick Lamar, Wu-Tang, Pretty Lights, E-40, The Roots, Soja, The Game, Flying Lotus, Matisyahu, Griz, Emancipator, Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, Collie Buddz and Common.
Zion I is a gestalt of lived geographic experience. Coming from Philadelphia, he also lived in Cincinnati, Rhode Island, Houston and Atlanta – although, he views Oakland, his current residence of nineteen years as his home. “It is the place where my music first grew. I have always loved the diversity and culture of rebellion that is in the heart of Oakland,” said Zion I. There’s every shade of color here. When people see injustice, there is a collective activation that takes place and we take to the streets to fire back at the system. The history of the Black Panthers is still alive in the hearts of many. I live and breathe this energy of this community, with its turbulent rise and fall of the struggle to live with dignity. I draw tremendous inspiration in my lyrics from the town.”
“I hope to be an example for the next generation; showing that you can live out your
dreams and pursue your goals with passion and exuberance,” said Zion I.
Zion I released his new full-length fifteen-song album, The Labyrinth in October, 2016. He describes the record as melodic and bass heavy. “It was cool being able to hit the people with some new vibes and give them a current window into my world. I've also got the new ZGE — Zion I, Grouch, and Eligh record on deck, which will drop in early 2017. I’m also working on a dope project with Locksmith, which is a more lyrically driven record with classic sample-driven production. Locksmith is one of the most skilled MC's on the west coast, so this project is for true fans of lyricism,” says Zumbi
Catalog highlights include The Grouch-joined linguistic clinic “Silly Puddy,” early K.Flay standout appearance on the Electro-driven “Coastin’,” and the gritty turf-talk of “Don’t Lose Ya Head” alongside Too Short.
lespecial carves their own path in contemporary rock music with the release of their second album, cheen, on October 31, 2017. Pole vaulting over traditional genres, cheen is a snapshot of a band finding a remarkable creative stride, fearless in their pursuit of a synthesis of the diverse musical idioms that have inspired them as listeners and artists.