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Zion I and The Grouch Heroes In The Healing Of The Nation The Foreign Exchange Music • 2011

Zion I and The Grouch are recruiting heroes. Not Superman, not the Incredibles, not even Hancock, but you! Ordinary people. Victorious people.

'Stand up and take the power back'-style, their sophomore release is packed with pep talk and poignant punchlines. If you ain’t motivated by this, then we don't know what will.

The soundtrack to this recruiting campagne is a sonic adventure. With beats that buzz and synths that sizzle, Amp Live's 808-production is mechanical, industrial even ('Drop It On The I') opposed to the warm and positive message of the lyrics, creating a surreal and energetic duality.


Exception to the rule is the remake of Ed OG’s ‘Be A Father To Your Child’, with a feature by Roy Ayers, author of the song ‘Everybody Loves The Sunshine’, which is sampled in this track. Also heart-warming is the reggae-tinged ‘Journey to Forever’ with Eric Rahmney of the Rebellution, where The Grouch lauds the good life in Hawaii (‘I got a whale’s tale straight in my face!’).

In some great concept songs The Grouch and Zumbi deal with the shortcomings of modern society (‘Victorious People’), technology (‘Frankenstein’), and the 'Oh-I'm-so-healthy'-hype (‘I Used To Be Vegan’). But most of all they urge you to build a personality (‘Leader’) and take the power back (‘Victorious People’), a message that clearly didn’t fall on deaf ears in the Northern Africa-Middle East region.

The strength of an album like ‘Heroes In The Healing Of The Nation’ is that it’s positive without losing it’s –rap- credibility. It’s raising moral concerns but it’s not pointing fingers. It’s criticizing but without falling into cynicism. Thematically it's Public Enemy (politics) meets A Tribe Called Quest (positive), musically it's a perfect combination between the Zion I and Living Legends’ sound, which obviously equals ‘groundbreaking’.


POSTED ON 03|25|2011 by cpf

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