Since the release of the debut album, Mind Over Matter in 2000, Zion I has risen up the ranks of independent hip-hop to solidify their standing as one of the most prolific conscious rap groups of the past 2 decades. Boasting a catalog that consists of over two-dozen albums, EPs, mixtapes and collaborations, Zion I (currently consisting solely of MC/producer Zumbi) continues to create inspired music influenced by social & political woes, personal challenges & triumphs as well as family, spirituality and a raw perspective on the world at large.
Cited by A.V. Club as “remarkable”, Zumbi continues to showcase his talents as a unique, diverse and skilled MC while maintaining his place as one of the most recognizable voices in Hip-Hop. The 2016 release, The Labyrinth was cited by PopMatters as “a timely new album of politically engaged hip-hop”. Fueled by his own personal losses as well as the current political and social climate of the world-at-large, Zumbi has created a record that, as the Huffington Post put it; “is as heartfelt as it is badass”.
Being one of the most energetic and engaging live acts out there, Zion I continues to bring the music to the masses at festivals, events and venues across the planet. With a sound and style that bends musical genres, Zion I is able to perform alongside a diverse range of artists ranging from rap, rock and reggae to jam band and EDM.
With the latest release of Ritual Mystik, Zion I continues to make music that while left-of-center is still relevant, fresh and exciting as ever. As Okayplayer put it; “At the end of the day, Zion I’s strength lies in the same areas where many artists falter – evolving without abandoning tried and tested methods.”
When the honeyed tones of The Jazz Age meld with hottest beat drops of the new millennium, you get High Step Society’s elixir of American Electro Swing. Grandma remembers when she listened to jazz giants on the old Victrola. Grandkids feel the bass beats deep in their chest cavity. Merging dance music from our past with sounds for the future, High Step Society features a shimmering horn section that soars over syncopated high hats and rat-a-tat snare. The kids in the band are electronic music producers as well as educated jazz musicians. Audaciously sophisticated, High Step Society is rethinking jazz with unorthodox arrangements, and bringing a touch of elegance to modern electronic music.
The band is “at once groovy and raucously tight, High Step Society’s tunes growl to a Cotton Club vibe that plunges the depths of the EDM trench.” (Eugene Weekly, 10/8/15). They ”take it to the next level with live horn sections, sultry singers and energetic dance beats that capture the excitement of the jazz age and rocket launch it a century into the future.” (Eugene Weekly, 4/9/15) Their live shows are classy affairs where everyone is encouraged to dress their best, so the band and the crowd are looking top notch while the dance floor sizzles.
High Step Society’s first recording, “The Duke Suite” EP was released July 2015 for free download on their SoundCloud page. This is just the beginning for this hot new Electro Swing band who takes inspiration from the likes of Caravan Palace, Duke Ellington, and newer producers like G. Jones. Since their formation in 2015, they have been lighting up music festivals and packing dance halls across the Northwest.