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Heroes In the City of Dope

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Album Review

Bay Area hip-hoppers Zion I & the Grouch have stayed relatively off the national radar, even though they've been in the scene for a while now. With the upsurge in popularity of hyphy in 2006, however, as well as greater exposure thanks to a signing with Om Records, the group has been able to gain exposure in the rest of the U.S. Their first album together, Zion I & the Grouch Are Heroes in the City of Dope is partially introspection, partially consciousness, and partially hyphy-inspired dance music. Fellow West Coasters Chali 2na (formerly of Jurassic 5) and Mistah F.A.B. make guest appearances, giving credibility to both their backpacker side and their street side. The production on the record is laid-back and smooth, giving plenty of space to the MCs' rhymes while still making itself known. Unfortunately, there's nothing on Zion I & the Grouch Are Heroes in the City of Dope that really grabs you, makes you listen, aside from the occasional line or two, but it's still a pretty decent album, and nice to hear how well Zion I and the Grouch work together.

Biography

Formed: 1996 in Oakland, CA

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

This duo of genre-bender pride has made a name for itself on the Bay Area scene by successfully mixing spiritualism and hip-hop. Oakland's MC Zumbi and DJ/producer Amp Live blend hip-hop and trip-hop beats with lyrics focused on a message of unity, hope, and spiritual awareness. Although Zion I operates out of Berkeley, the pair originally met in Atlanta, making their music difficult to classify as strictly West Coast hip-hop. Their musical style makes them even harder to define. With a style that...
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