Has Zumbi Found Zion I's Replacement for AmpLive With Producer Markis Precise?

Posted by Billyjam, November 17, 2015 03:24pm | Post a Comment

On his excellent recent release Fear of Flying (Ineffable Music), West Coast producer Markis Precise plays host to a rich array of mic wreckers including such talents as Strong Arm Steady, Fashawn, Ras Kass, Gift of Gab, and Zion I's Zumbi. Noteworthy of the collaborative album, that the artist refers to as a "compilation," is the Fresno producer's gift at pairing just the right music with each of his vocal collaborators. He manages to bring out the very best in his guest emcees. Examples include "Frequency (feat. Zion I)" in which he not only provides the pitch perfect backing track for emcee Zumbi's unique, instantly recognizable flow, but sonically captures that Zion I vibe, particularly early era Zion I. And this is good news for longtime fans of the prolific, popular duo who may have pondered what future lay ahead for them with the announcement earlier this year of the exit of Zumbi's longtime partner in Zion I, producer AmpLive

Since AmpLive left the group to focus more on his other collaborations and solo work, Zumbi (aka Baba Zumbi who originally went by the name Zion) has continued performing and recording as Zion I.  As such his next big show is this upcoming weekend's anticipated Rhyme Fest LA at Arena on Friday, Nov. 20th where he'll join a bill with such fellow hip-hop heavy-hitters as Raekwon, Freestyle Fellowship, Percee P, and Immortal Technique.  With Zion I's deep body of work to draw from, who knows if his set will include the recent Markis Precise track. If it does it will fit right in. For me, it recaptures late '90's Zion I, when K-Genius was with the group and they dropped the progressive hip-hop 12" "Inner Light" 12" on Ground Control Records. "Frequency" is somewhat reminiscent of the B-side's "Inner Light (Icy Remix)" that would appear again two years later on the group's critically acclaimed 2000 debut album Mind Over Matter.

Throughout a musically rich career that dates back to their 1997 debut four-song release, Enter The Woods, that showcased the promising careers of the young and talented duo of emcee Zion and producer AmpLive, their sound has often been described as futuristic hip-hop. That is a pretty accurate term for the group's music, which has consistently changed and evolved, without ever following any trends. In their many years as a duo, Zion I blazed a trail with incredible albums such as 2008's Deep Water Slang V2.0, 2012's Shadowboxing, and 2005's True & Livin' featuring the anthem "The Bay."  They also built a strong rep for their stage show and always active touring schedule. Fans loved Zion I 's Zumbi and AmpLive.  Hence when news broke earlier this year that AmpLive and Zumbi were going their separate creative waves fans feared that there would be no more Zion I. But Zumbi assured them that he and AmpLive, who had split amicably, would not be retiring the group.

"He will occasionally contribute production, but he is no longer the full-time producer or tour DJ," wrote Zumbi of AmpLive in a prepared press statement. At that time, as a farewell gesture to fans, they gave away the 2015 Zion I EP, The Sun Moon and the Stars, for free.

This week I reached out to Zumbi to ask him if he felt that the Markis Precise production worked well with his flow and, if so, might the two work on future projects together?

"Yes I feel that Markis Precise's style compliments my own," responded Zumbi. As for the possibility that Markis Precise working on more Zion I projects as a sort of regular producer?  "I would have to get in tighter with him for him to be a main contributor going forward however."


Zion I "The Bay" (2005)

Zion I "Inner Light (Icy Remix)" (1998)

Markis Precise "Frequency (feat. Zion I)" (2015)

Relevant Tags

Zion I (29), Rhyme Fest La (1), Markis Precise (1)