Zion-I Crew, one of the most profound and creative crews, from the Bay Area, California, to touch our sound waves in recent times. A breath of fresh air to the sounds, that I call Real Hip Hop. I grabbed the opportunity to catch up with the crew during their hectic schedule hoping that they would reveal exclusively what was next on the agenda!
Kwaku: Hey how are you guys doing? I know you have both been real busy, I mean you guys just don’t stop!! Tell us what you’ve been up to?
Zion-I: We’ve mostly been working on the new Zion-I and the grouch album called “Heroes In The City Of Dope”. But, I (Zion) have also been working on my own solo project “Baba Zumbi”. I’ve also been working on a DVD documentary/ short film project called “Daze In The Life”.
Kwaku: With the production what was the whole feel that you tried to put across with the current album “True & Living”? It sounded like you were taking it back to that boom bap type Hip Hop, was that a deliberate move?
Zion-I: Yeah…we focused more on a break-oriented approach. We like to make every album sound like a unique entity.
Kwaku: How was your approach to the current album and in your words how does it differ from the last album “Deep Water Slang”?
Zion-I: True and living has a more organic feel than Deep Water Slang.
Kwaku: Over the years touring the planet, where, would you say, has been the best place you have had to do a show?
Zion-I: I really enjoyed Sao Paulo… London… and back home in the bay area!
Kwaku: What is your overall view of Hip Hop today and do you think the gap will ever be bridged between mainstream and underground?
Zion-I: I feel that the epicenter of Hip Hop will always be the underground because it’s a culture derived from the street. All the new ideas sweep up from the people who really shape the art form. The artist simply reflects what’s going on in the street.
Kwaku: Tell us about the members of Zion I crew who is in it and what are they getting up to?
Zion-I: I’m Zion… the MC… right now I’m writing a lot of rhymes for mixtapes and side projects… and looking for a house to buy!!!
Kwaku: I really like the track Finger Paint feat Susie Suh & Dust from the last album Deep Water Slang 2.0. What was the meaning behind that track and what inspired a collabo with Susie Suh?
Zion-I: The idea for that song is to allow creativity to beautify your life… be creative and prosper. Susie was the homey… so we wanted to make music with her.
Kwaku: What were your thoughts on the whole incident, that took place in New Orleans with Hurricane Katrina. What lessons do you think America has learned from this?
Zion-I: It mainly shows that America doesn’t care about the ancestors of the slaves. To this day the racist ideology persists. It was good for all the black folks still in denial to witness the shame of our government. I don’t think America as a whole has learned anything…they always act like that…this situation was just on a grander scale.
Kwaku: Who are your main influences?
Zion-I: Bob Marley, A Tribe Called Quest, Nas, John Coltrane, James Brown, Sizzla.
Kwaku: When did you start getting into Drum n Bass and what inspired this direction of music?
Zion-I: Around 1994 was the first time I heard it. We liked it because it sounded new, so we used it in our ever evolving gumbo.
Kwaku: Even though you got joints that people love to wreck the dance floor with, you also have deep roots in conscious rap. How important is conscious rap to you and why?
Zion-I: It’s important to speak about deeper facets of life… along with the party side. Hip Hop is a tool of communication… being aware keeps it well rounded.
Kwaku: Do you feel the lack of conscious rap in the game today helps contribute to a violent society urban youth?
Zion-I: There’s no lack of conscious rap. There’s a lack of desire for corporations to promote it… because by default it subverts the corporate ideal. The hood is violent not because of hip hop… its violent because of the lack of opportunity, drugs, the oppressive nature of life in the ghetto, and hyper violence in the media.
Kwaku: What are your thoughts on the current situation on the local radio stations not showing any support for the local groups in the area, and how are you still able to reach out to your worldwide audience?
Zion-I: Luckily, local music is well supported in the bay area. We use the Internet to stay in touch with our fans… its a great tool.
Kwaku: What’s next for Zion-I, what can we look forward to?
Zion-I: Look for the next Zion-I record next year. But keep your eye out for the Zion-I and grouch album…heroes in the city of dope!!
Kwaku: Thanks for taking the time out to speak with me its much appreciated any closing thoughts?
Check the website: www.zionicrew.com.
Big up Live Up records… Deuce, Eclipse and D.U.S.T.!
Written by: Kwaku