Amoeba Music San Francisco Hip-Hop Top Five: 02:20:09
1) Zion I The TakeOver (Gold Dust Media)
2) Madlib Beat Konducta Vols. 5-6 (Stones Throw)
3) 40Love BANGERANG! (No Label)
4) P.O.S. Never Better (Rhymesayers Entertainment)
5) Various Artists NASA: The Spirit of Apollo (Anti)
Thanks to Luis at the San Francisco Amoeba Music for this latest Hip-Hop Top Five, compiled from weekly sales figures of new hip-hop full-length CDs at the Haight Street store. And in the number one (with a bullet) slot is the off the hook just released Zion I album, The TakeOver on Gold Dust Media. This is the sixth album from the Oakland based duo who released their first full-length back in 2000. Comprised of producer AmpLive and emcee Zumbi, who moved out to the Bay Area from Atlanta, GA thirteen years ago where they first met up as students attending Morehouse College, Zion I just get better and better as time goes by. And The TakeOver is without a doubt their finest release to date. It is also their most musically diverse, incorporating elements of hyphy, boom bap, dirty south, power pop rap, and more.
And impressively, much of the music is live, not sampled. "On this album we wanted to keep it more live and also electronic so as to just have it as a tight combination," AmpLive told me recently, noting that the drums on the New Orleans flavored track "Gumbo" are all recorded live. Meanwhile, guest artists on the album include Rhymesayers emcee Brother Ali; Oakland power vocalist Jennifer Johns, whose numerous other collaborations include recording with former Amoebite DJ Platurn; Devin The Dude, who collaborates on the infectious, hit-bound "Country Baked Yams;" female vocalist K. Flay, whose vocal style is reminiscent of Sinead O' Connor; and talented UK emcee Ty, who deserves more attention Stateside than he has gotten to date.