Zion I

The Labyrinth

BY Leandre NawejPublished Oct 21, 2016

Beloved Oakland treasure Zumbi of Zion I invites us on a tremendous journey of healing with his latest solo album, The Labyrinth. The rapper, who experienced the death of his father last year, picks his words carefully as he forcefully addresses social and political issues on his 15-track project. After parting ways with former collaborator Amp Live, the artist joins forces with Ariano, Decap, Mikos the Gawd and more for his conscious hip-hop crusade.
Single "Tech $" received national attention last year as the rapper publically shamed the ongoing gentrification of the Bay Area's technology development; this time around, Zion I comments on the rising tension between Black Americans and the police force on "Let Me Be."
In spite of spiritual and religious references, The Labyrinth is nearly devoid of gospel influences, relying instead on heavy electronic bass with songs like "Saving Souls," which reinforce the notion of peace and empowerment. "Pre-Destine" and "Departure" feature Zumbi's two-year-old son Kenji, who marks both the beginning and the end of a complex personal journey.

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