Zion I & The Grouch: Heroes In The Healing Of The Nation

Zion I & The Grouch: Heroes In The Healing Of The Nation
Bay area hip hop stalwarts, Zion I and The Grouch first collaborated on 2006’s Heroes in the City of Dope. The album garnered some critical praise like a 4.5/5 from Sputnik Music but largely drew mediocre reviews like a 7.0/10 from Prefix Mag. Five years later, the trio meets back up on Heroes In The Healing Of The Nation hoping for improved results.
Heroes in the City of Dope was accused of being not adventurous enough in some of the poor reviews. To remedy this, AmpLive takes some risks on production. “Drop It On The 1” has a definite dubstep feel to it, almost like something produced by Joker. “It’s Goin’ Down” sounds Bloc Party inspired with its slightly disjointed guitars and rock beat. But the esoteric production fare really just acts as a decoy to distract from a myriad of songs that feature AmpLive’s typical funk guitars and horns, drum and bass format.
As far as I am concerned there is nothing wrong with AmpLive’s production because it really let’s Zumbi and The Grouch shine. The album’s first single “Rockit Man” gives Zumbi and The Grouch an opportunity to show off their cadence and their socially conscious lyrical fare. Silk E joins the track to add vocals on the hook.
While the socially conscious lyrics are often a plus, there are some tracks where they feel ham-handed. Tracks like “I Used to Be a Vegan” and “Be a Father to Your Child” seem a little overbearing to the point of being cheesy.
Not too many tracks veer into that cheesy territory, but many of the songs could use stronger hooks; both rappers are extremely proficient but the music often lacks that pop factor. When all the elements come together, the group really does showcase something special but I feel like something is missing from a good portion of the album.
Rating: 6.7/10
MP3: Zion I & The Grouch “Rockit Man”
Buy: iTunes or Amazon