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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Spiritual solidarity in a tumultuous time

Using the power of their music to inspire change, hip-hop duo Zion I (pronounced ‘Zion Eye’) and The Grouch prepare to deliver positive lyrical messages to Madison.[/media-credit]

Expect to do more than just coast on a dream through the Zion I and the Grouch show.

Known for their bumping beats and smooth lyrics, the Bay area based duo, Zion I, sound reminiscent of classic, old school hip-hop that you’d listen to while driving through the sunny suburbs on a dry, hot summer day. But don’t think you can stereotype this duo quite yet. Their style combines hip-hop, reggae and electronic dance.

MC Zion and DJ and producer Amp Live are known for their fusion of classic hip-hop and meaningful lyrical messages. Their hip-hop beats aren’t overlaid with lyrics about sex, drinking and drugs, as is often common in the hip-hop scene, rather, their lyrics focus on messages about love, hope and awareness of the world.


With lyrics like, “I feel so divine givin’ thanks I’m alive,” from Zion I’s hit song “Coastin'” it’s clear this isn’t the kind of music that everybody in the club will be getting tipsy too.

In a recent interview with The Badger Herald, Zion I’s MC Zumbi, said that their new album Heroes In The Healing of The Nation, is meant to encourage people to be strong in the tumultuous time we are living in and to inspire positive solutions.

“There are earthquakes, wars going on, people fighting for oil and water, governments toppling like dominos. This is great time of change,” said Zumbi.

Zumbi also reflected that this album is not meant to only bring about awareness, but also to call to action individuals and communities.

Their origins reflect this mentality as well.  

“We always wanted the spiritual aspect of our music to be at the forefront of what we did. That’s why we chose the name Zion I; Zion I is the crown we put on ourselves. Everything we do is going to reflect that name, that’s the energy with which we started the band in the first place,” MC Zion I said.

The duo frequently collaborates with other bay area rappers such as Rasco, Planet Asia and The Grouch.

The Grouch is part of Living Legends, a bay area-based, indie-rap group. He started out playing local shows and selling tapes, creating a fan base through a kind of grassroots awareness.

When he spoke with The Badger Herald about Heroes In the Healing of The Nation, Grouch discussed how the title of the album has immense significance,

“In heroes we meant that we are all leaders, gods, goddesses, kings, queens. I believe that we are all put on this earth with super powers, and sometimes we think we are ones in billions of people, and that we aren’t that powerful. But we are super powerful beings,” The Grouch said.

Sounds more like an advocacy group leader than a hip-hop rapper.

On working on his second collaboration album with Zion I, The Grouch said, “We get along well, things flow smoothly in the studio. We see eye to eye on issues with music and the rest of the world. It’s kind of like a natural coming together.”

As for what audiences can anticipate for their upcoming Majestic show?

“Expect music you can have a party too, as well as music that delivers a cool message,” The Grouch said.

“Expect energy, slaps from past, present and future, a lot of flavor on the set.” MC Zumbi added. “And we’re going to go hard.”

Zion I and The Grouch will be performing at the Majestic Theatre on April 15 at 9 p.m. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online at the Majestic Theatre’s website, or at the door.

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