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Zion I: Deep Water Slang (2002)

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No stars How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Good luck finding this one in your local store. Since Bay Area distributor Nu Gruv Alliance recently went under, this forward thinking hip hop crew may be left high and dry with no distribution. But if you come across a copy of Deep Water Slang in the used section of the record store, or even on Ebay, it’s a no-brainer to pick it up. Following up their excellent debut Mind Over Matter in 2000, Zion I drop Deep Water Slang and are still one of the freshest sounding crews around. They combine precise lyrical acuity with a palette of production influences from ragga to drum n bass and electronica. Their tracks always contain a futuristic edge beneath their neck-snapping funk. Check the space age sound effects on "Cheeba Cheeba" (which also features fellow lyrical contortionist, Aceyalone), the Eastern inspired instrumentation on "Kharma" and the futuristic dancehall of "A.E.I.O.U." Zion I impress with sheer honesty and urgency. “I memorize all my trauma and then record it. It’s all live, never been Memorex” declares MC Zion on "Kharma". This impassioned manifesto permeates their style from the spiritually inclined and soulful "Flow" to the candid "Sorry" showing their ability to navigate the world with a thoughtful eye, and still make it fit into a hip-hop context. Deep Water Slang shows that Zion I are still way ahead of the game.

Record Label: Live Up Records

Style: Beyond Jazz


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