Celebrated fixture of the socially-conscious, glass-is-half-full Bay Area hip-hop scene, Zion I, who performs tonight at The Avalon, has been bringing its message of self-determination and global awareness via samples, original instrumentation and insightful lyrics for nearly 15 years. More concerned with using music as a force for positive change than being a here-today-gone-tomorrow radio sensation, MC Zumbi and AmpLive have built a career making music that is informed, inspiring, enlightening and catchy.
Frequent Zion I collaborator, Living Legends founding member and MC extraordinaire the Grouch brings an eyes-to-the-future stance to the the (not-so-underground-anymore) underground hip-hop scene with his grounded and personal lyrics about everything from raising his daughter right and his changing perspective on health and diet to the politics of war and the need for everyone to step up and become their better self. His keen observations and prolific output have made him one of the most well-known and respected MCs around.
On their most recent collaboration, Heroes in the Healing of the Nation, Zion I and the Grouch blend elements of classic hip-hop with rock and R&B to create a slightly-experimental album that aims for the higher plane with songs about better living, conscious relationships and parenting, personal and planetary healing, spirit, salvation, optimism and gratitude.
From “Be a Father to Your Child” and “Journey to Forever” to “Victorious People” and “Healing of the Nation,” this mighty threesome with a shared musical vision and undeniable chemistry creates songs that bring focus, awareness and love to a musical landscape that is saturated with one-hitters.
Far from being a flash in the hip-hop pan, these guys are the real deal, using their skills and abilities to make a change. As the Grouch once said, “Anybody who is doing something to change the world for the better is a hero.”