Zion I
Fri, May 13
Doug Fir Lounge
830 E Burnside

Usually, those who do something for hiphop make very little money, and those who hiphop does something for make tons. It wasn't always like this. In the past, giving and taking were one and the same thing. These days, a group like Bay Area duo Zion I, contributing a significant amount to the art, have seen very little in the way of money and acclaim coming back their way.

MC Zion was born and raised in Philadelphia; Amp Live was born and raised in San Antonio. The two met in a dorm at Morehouse College in the early '90s. In the mid-'90s, they became members of a quartet called Metafour that quickly signed to Tommy Records. Because of artistic disagreements, the relationship between the established hiphop record label and the unknown foursome came to a dead end. MC Zion and Amp Live relocated to the Bay Area and formed Zion I. Their first CD, Mind Over Matter, was appropriately named the best hiphop CD of 2000 by The Source magazine.

Zion I's sophomore CD, Deep Water Slang 2.0, was as good as their debut, but it received almost no commercial or critical recognition. In comparison, their latest, True & Livin', is getting a lot of press and many critics consider it to be the duo's best effort yet--an estimation that isn't entirely on point. The production on True & Livin' is bigger and better sounding than Zion I's previous works, but as far as the actual content, it doesn't really do anything new. Mind Over Matter, Deep Water Slang 2.0, and True & Livin' are really just one long record that contains a series of very mellow and melodic tracks.

True & Livin' is a celebration of the '90s underground hiphop movement and its achievements--reinforcing the core value of the underground, and, ultimately, the core b-boy value: "[staying] true and livin' with a youthful vengeance."