Oakland based rap group Zion I disbanded last year, with Amp Live leaving to pursue other ventures and Zumbi carrying on the namesake the two created in 1996. It’s been a bittersweet goodbye for fans of the group, who’ve listened to the duo lead the way on socially and politically conscious rap music since their debut Mind Over Matter in 2000. The years since then have seen Zumbi and Amp live record 0ver ten albums, including Heroes in The City of Dope and Heroes in The Healing of The Nation with The Grouch. Together, they’ve solidified their place in hip hop culture.
It’s comforting to note that Zion I is not really gone at all, but is seeing an evolution, one that has Baba Zumbi at the forefront of all creative decisions. It will be interesting to see how being the sole voice of Zion I challenges him. Although he’ll now be working alongside different producers in place of Amp, the lyricism in Zion I has always been Zumbi’s signature.
Zumbi’s release of The Sun, Moon and Stars in February this year, featured production by various producers and tackled themes like police brutality on songs like “Unity” and self image in the age of the internet on “Lost In Translation.”
He released The Rapture: Live from Oaklandia this summer. It’s a live album, backed by a band and was recorded in front of an audience, earlier this year. The album features classic and newer material, and is a reminder of the impressive catalog Zion I created in their time together. We spoke with Zumbi on Episode 29 of Screen Girls on Air and he told us he’s been recording new material in Hawaii and at home for the past few months and is gearing up to release some more music.