Zion I: Atomic Clock

Zion I: Atomic Clock
AmpLive has done production for everyone from Planet Asia to Del the Funky Homosapien but he is best know for being half of the Oakland duo, Zion I with rapper, Zumbi. In their decade long career, the duo has released albums several critically acclaimed album, most notably 2006’s Heroes in the City of Dope with Living Legends member, The Grouch. On their last album, 2009’s The Take Over the duo delved into electronic music but on their seventh studio album, Atomic Clock they return to their old skool hip hop roots.
The opening track “Always” shows off that old skool vibe immediately. The track is reminiscent of A Tribe Called Quest with Zumbi’s voice sounding incredibly like Q-Tip‘s. AmpLive’s sets the mood with its jazz horns and live drum sounds. The track also features an unexpected guitar solo outro showing off the group’s esoteric influences.
While the old skool vibe is prevalent through out the album, the electronic influences exhibited in The Take Over are not completely gone. “The Sealing” features layers of synthesizers over electronic drumbeats. Hearing the instrumental, one would have no idea that it belonged to a hip hop song. The same could probably be said for “Many Styles” but instead of leaning towards electronica, “Many Styles” is a straight reggae/dancehall tune. Luckily Zumbi does not change his voice or flow to ape Jamaican; he stays slow and steady, cool and calm.
Whether it is Zion I’s exploration of esoteric influences or their commitment to continuing old skool hip hop, the group seems to be able to do no wrong. Atomic Clock just adds to their already critically applauded catalog.
Rating: 8.2/10
MP3: Zion I “Always”
Buy: iTunes or Insound!

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