Wrapping up his Rapture Tour, Zion I released “Culture Freedom” in collaboration with fellow Bay Area lyricist Locksmith. The track, which premiered via DJBooth, energizes the ears of weary rap fans with clever flows and innovative production by Aagee. “I met him back in the late ’90s on the Wake Up Show,” MC Zumbi says of Locksmith. “I’ve always had respect for his lyricism and it took a couple of years for us to connect.” In February, Mass Appeal debuted Zion I’s The Sun, Moon, and Stars, the third and final chapter of their three EP journey. Embraced as an Oakland mainstay known for advanced lyrical deliveries and a cohesive back-to-the-future musical package, Zion I will perform at Slim’s in San Francisco on April 11 with support from Locksmith and Kev Choice.
With “Culture Freedom,” Zion I and Locksmith strive to keep the hip-hop’s progressive spirit alive. “Just seeing the way that society is so twisted, we as artists struggle with tackling the real issues at hand. Don’t get me wrong, there are MCs dealing with things, but in my opinion there are too many caught up in escapism,” Zumbi says. “It’s our duty to show our youth what we’ve learned along our paths, honestly and sincerely. That’s what we attempted to accomplish with ‘Culture Freedom’…Hip-hop is a tool to empower us, not to limit us and put us back into whatever our oppressor wants us to be.”