Oakland duo Zion I - consisting of DJ AmpLive and MC Zumbi - became
interested in hip hop during its formation in the late 80s, scribbling
lyrics during class and playing around with their family radios and
computers after school. In 1991, the duo joined forces with a few other
like-minded musicians and formed the group Metufour, but after failing
to find huge success, AmpLive and Zumbi broke off to form Zion I,
releasing their first single in 1998. With AmpLive's futuristic mix of
beats, samples and live instrumentation coupled with Zumbi's political
lyrics, the duo's music caught on with an underground hip hop audience.
After multiple hyphy musicians remixed the duo's single, Zion I received
mainstream attention in the Bay Area.
The Grouch, a very prominent and prolific member of the independent hip-hop community, is an Oakland native and member of the rap collective Living Legends. Between 1995 and 2009, he released 12 solo albums, appeared on over 30 compilations and participated in multiple collaborative projects, including Zion I & The Grouch - a project the two Bay Area tastemakers first began in 2006.