2013-06-27 - 2:22 PM - Lukas
The duo Zion I, comprising of Zumbi and Amp Live, is back at work on their new, as-of-yet untitled LP.
The upcoming successor of 2012’s Shadowboxing is scheduled to drop this fall. Zumbi says that the group has recorded several songs for the album so far and plans to collaborate with other MC’s and musicians. Besides detailing on the Zion I record, Zumbi promises to release a new Burnerz album and explains his relationship with social media.
You released The Vapors EP in April. Is that project any sign of what to expect from the upcoming album?
Yeah, to a certain degree. We kinda opened it up to different producers, trying to be more flexible and getting other sounds coming in. It’s definitely an indication of what it’s going to sound like on the new project.
The album should be released this fall. How many songs are you deep?
Not that many. Probably five right now. We’re going to focus on the record this month and then in July and see what direction we’re really going to take. Right now, we’ve got a couple of songs to start with. We’re still figuring it out.
Will the new album have a unifying theme like Shadowboxing did?
Yeah, we always try to have that kind of energy on every album. We’re definitely trying to make it feel natural and organic. That means to choose the right people to work with, the production style and everything else. We don’t want to sound forced or try something we don’t know how to do.
Going back to the Vapors EP, there was a bunch of guests on it–MkSmth, Neon Brown, Knowitalll. Does it mean that Zion I is spreading its wings and it’s going to be more about the brand or a specific style than the group itself?
Yeah, a little bit. It was out of necessity, it had to be done like that. Over the years, a lot of things happened in our family. Cats are just having more income so the focus on Zion I has kinda shifted around. We’re still a crew but definitely more open to different vibes coming in. I’m full-time Zion I, Amp is mostly Zion I because he’s doing a lot of other stuff. That’s the reason why we’ve opened it up to other people.
You don’t follow that many rappers on Twitter, and if you do, they are mostly vets like The RZA, Roc Marciano, Freddie Foxxx or Too Short. Are you excited about any up-and-coming names?
I like Joey Badass and the young cats from around here, like A-1 and Duckworth (Kendrick Lamar). I’m not that much into social media because when I get on there, it gets hectic because I check what everybody’s doing all the time.
If you notice from my Twitter and Facebook, I talk to people once in a while but I’m not there that often. I log on there to say “Hey, I’m doing this. What’s up with y’all?” But I’m not there 24/7 like some people. I get caught up being into what everybody else is doing instead of what I’m doing. As an independent artist, I feel like I need to be on top of what I’m doing. I definitely pay attention to other folks, but in terms of checking that every day that throws me off a little bit.
Shadowboxing was almost guest-free. Do you think you will get other MC’s on this upcoming album?
Have you already secured some features?
Nah, we don’t have anybody yet but I’m sure we’re going to come up with some cats. We’ve talked about the artists we want there.
We got this guy Allen Stone that we want to do something with. There’s this dude [Robert] Cray. I think he’s from Tennessee. Right now it’s these two guys but I’m sure we’re going to come up with a couple more before we have the album done.
Is there anything else that you’re working on?
I want to get the new Burnerz album out too. That’s like halfway finished. It’s probably going to end up being an EP at this point. I’m having a hard time reconnecting with The Are again to record more stuff so we can finish it up, but I’m sure that it will come out soon.