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 as conscious party-rocking hip-hop. After years of collaboration with producer Amp Live, the Oakland-based rapper/songwriter has evolved and 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, Snow Globe and most recently the urban lifestyle music and arts festival, Bay Area Vibez.
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 is currently working on a new full length album, scheduled for release in the spring of 2016. He finds it exciting to be back in the zone with like-minded musicians. He describes the record as melodic and bass heavy.
“I’m looking forward to hitting the people with some new vibes and giving them a current window into my world,” said Zion I. “I've also got the new Zion I, Grouch, and Eligh record on deck. That will probably drop later in 2016, along with a project with Locksmith. That one is more of a 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.”
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.