Zion I “The Take Over” Album Review

Originality is something bay area duo Zion-I (Amp Live, MC Zumbi), has never struggled with. For a decade this producer/MC team of Atlanta-transplants has been putting together funky tracks with little regard for the latest trends. Aside from collaborations with other artists, the two have mostly stayed on the sideline as the Hyphy movement swept Oakland. 

“The Takeover” marks a break with the old Zion-I. It’s the first full-length Zion I album on which MC Zion has fully committed to his alter ego, Zumbi. After nearly a decade of non-explicit lyrics, the artist formerly known as Zion drops an f-bomb just a few bars into his new album.

“Burnin incense, yeah they use to call us yoga, a couple years set to take this thing over”—Takeover. How are they going to take over? With pop (Antenna, Radio, Country Baked Yams dt. Devin The Dude, Coastin’) and catchy tracks doused in 808 kicks (Geek To The Beat, Juicy Juice) .

Zion-I albums have always turned out a cornucopia of sounds and “The Takeover” is no exception. At times it sounds like a Lil’ Wayne album of late produced by Kanye West—only Kanye also dipped into whatever Lil’ Wayne was taking before studio sessions. It’s tripped out thanks to Amp Live.

Amp Live outshines Zumbi on this album. With most songs sampling tons of sounds it’s obvious he’s been busy putting together remix tapes. Zumbi might as well have not even got out of bed to record “DJ DJ,” which Amp Live treats like a DJ session at your local nightclub.

If you’re expecting a focused indie album, forget it.  If you’re ok with 15 tracks of experimental, heavily produced party music, layered with revolutionary lyrics (“This system does not work for us.  So we must take this system over and make it work for us–Taking”) this album is going to Take Over your I-pod until spring break.

Bottom Line: Amp Live fans will love it.

Best Track: Geek To The Beat (honorable mention: Caged Bird pt. 1 ft. Brother Ali)

Due: It’s OUT! (originally scheduled for Feb. 17 release). Get It

Reviews: Pop Matters “That has been true of Zion I in the past, but Take Over finds them at their most emptily hyphy, far more style than substance…”

Vibe: “Musically, Amp draws from everywhere—merging Afrika Bamabaataa-esque, electro-rap break beats (“DJ DJ”) and pounding afro-rhythms with steel drums (“Geek To The Beat”). Zumbi’s rhymes are equally diverse.”

This Is Hip Hop: With their first release since HeroesThe Take Over sees Amp Live branch out to a variety of sounds, which turns out to be a double-edged sword.

 

Spin.

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~ by Chris Piel on February 12, 2009.

One Response to “Zion I “The Take Over” Album Review”

  1. I dont think you guys really know what your talking about dissin Zumbi on the album and Geek to a Beat is far from the best song on there are you kidding me?? Get someone on here that knows something about hip hop before you make ignorant statements like that.

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