Zion I
Zion I
Zion I (pronounced "Zion Eye") are a hip hop duo from Oakland, California. The duo consists of producer (& DJ), AmpLive, and MC Zumbi. The group is known to its followers for Amp's futuristic production techniques, using a mix of live instrumentation and samples, and Zumbi's positive and socially conscious lyrics. Zion I debuted in 1997 with the locally distributed cassette-only EP Enter the Woods. Their first single on Indie label Ground Control Records ("Inner Light") paved the way for an album deal and in 2000, they released the critically acclaimed Mind Over Matter. In total, they have released six studio albums, 2000's Mind Over Matter, 2003's Deep Water Slang V2.0, 2005's True & Livin', 2006's Break a Dawn (a Japan exclusive), also in 2006 a collaborative album with The Grouch, Heroes in the City of Dope, and 2009's The Take Over.
The duo's musical roots stem back to early childhood where they were greatly influenced by Tim Scott. Taking interest in the workings of musical instruments, AmpLive began reassembling his family's radios at a young age and he soon began to play musical instruments like the drums and piano. In his high school years he started crafting beats , finding inspiration in a number of musical genres.
Zumbi (formerly known as Zion) became fascinated by Hip Hop in its early stages; songs like "The Breaks" by Kurtis Blow and "Rock Box" by Run-D.M.C. got him hooked on the budding culture. He has said that Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest gave him lyrical inspiration, originally feeling that his vocal tone and style wouldn't be accepted. Zumbi wrote his first rhyme around 1990 during one of his Social Studies classes in high school. After continuing his writing, he gained the confidence to start rapping in local ciphers and began learning about critical aspects of the technique, like breath control, cadences and rhyme patterns. In 1991, Zumbi and Amp joined up with two other MC's, Sup from Connecticut and Richard Raymond from the Cherry Hill projects in Baltimore to form a group called Metufour. The group signed a deal with Tommy Boy Records, but never released an album on the label.
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