Hip-Hop group Zion I continue to forge new ground musically on their latest LP Shadowboxing, a beat-heavy hip-hop album decidedly grittier than past projects. Always pushing the literal-and figurative-needle forward, the duo, consisting of emcee Zumbi and producer Amp Live, have once again created something experimental and heartfelt. Shadowboxing features guests such as Bassnectar, Collie Buddz, Grouch and Eligh, and Goapele.
A move from the live instrumentation of their last record, Shadowboxing enlists a range of producers such as Traxamillion, DexBeats, Minnesota, who bring an unconventional, eclectic flavor to the album. With its futuristic beat, “Float,” produced by Santa Cruz up-and-comer Minnesota, is reminiscent of Zion I’s earlier work, Mind Over Matter. On “Bounce,” Bassnectar masters the manipulating of frequencies and crushing basslines. “I just did my thing with the image of a huge crowd going ham in my mind while I penned the verse,” explains Zumbi of recording the track.
Thematically, Shadowboxing is signature Zion I: “This is an album about metaphorical kicks and throws at oneself,” explains Zumbi, “looking inward at the shadow self, and seeking awareness in the darkness of one’s own psyche.”