Hip-Hop group Zion I continue to forge new ground musically on their latest LP Shadowboxing, a beat-heavy hip-hop album decidedly grittier than past projects. Always pushing the literal—and figurative—needle forward, the duo, consisting of emcee Zumbi and producer Amp Live, have once again created something experimental and heartfelt. Shadowboxing features guests such as Bassnectar, Grouch and Eligh, Collie Buddz and Goapele.
A move from the live instrumentation of their last record, Shadowboxing enlists a range of producers such as Traxamillion, Timeline, DexBeats, Minnesota, who bring an unconventional, eclectic flavor to the album. With its futuristic beat, “Float,” produced by Santa Cruz up-and-comer Minnesota, is reminiscent of Zion I’s earlier work, Mind Over Matter. On “Bounce,” Bassnectar masters the manipulating of frequencies and crushing basslines. “I just did my thing with the image of a huge crowd going ham in my mind while I penned the verse,” explains Zumbi of recording the track.
Thematically, Shadowboxing is signature Zion I: "This is an album about metaphorical kicks and throws at oneself," explains Zumbi, "looking inward at the shadow self, and seeking awareness in the darkness of one's own psyche."
To support the album, Zion I will hit 30 cities from Brooklyn to Boulder and Atlanta to Orlando with Santa Cruz Dubstep DJ Minnesota for the “2012 Shadowboxing Tour.”
Since 1999, Zion I has released seven critically acclaimed LPs, including Mind Over Matter (1998), Deep Water Slang (2000), True & Livin’ (2003), Break of Dawn (2004), The Take Over (2009), and Atomic Clock (2010). They also have two highly acclaimed albums under the name Zion I and The Grouch with long time collaborator The Grouch, Hereos in the City of Dope and Hereos in the Healing of the Nation. Voted best Bay Area hip-hop group by the SF Weekly numerous times, Zion I have been featured in media outlets from XXL, The Source, Vibe, YRB, 944, Prefixmag.com, Popmatters, 7+7, SF Chronicle, and SF Bay Guardian.