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Zion I True & Livin‘

MC Zion and Amp Live emerge from the Bay Area with their most politicized and fully realized record. On this third full-length, the Oakland-based duo honors their city‘s activist legacy by pushing to the forefront topics that would make Huey Newton proud. Mixing live instrumentation with samples, Amp Live‘s soulful touches enliven a jazz-inflected framework atop which Zion spits lyrical darts at urban ills. Whether speaking on the genocidal nature of gang culture ("Luv") or the conspicuous consumption of everyday people ("Poems 4 Post Modern Decay" featuring Aesop Rock), Zion‘s vitriol resonates. This is especially so on "Stranger in My Home," which critiques what Zion I see as the gentrification of hip-hop-a situation where white consumers have encroached upon a historically black and Latino art form. Zion I‘s determination to hold down the block should put to rest any notion of a cultural eviction.

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