Zion I Spreads the Love

February 26, 2015

In Oakland, California, if you mention the name Zion I, most likely people know who you’re talking about. Go further inland and there’s less of a chance people have ever heard of them. However, emcee Zumbi and producer Amp Live are on a mission to change that. They’ve come a long way since their 1997 debut, subsequently spitting out albums on a regular basis for over 15 years. With Amp Live’s futuristic production and Zumbi’s introspective, often metaphysical lyrical content, Zion I stands out amongst the contemporary rappers of today. Zumbi is more likely to rap about yoga before he raps about “da club.” As we continue to sail through the worst economy the world has seen in decades, it’s ironic that mainstream rappers brag about how much money they have, something Zumbi approaches with common sens

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Album Review: In Tall Buildings— Driver

February 24, 2015

If Erik Hall, the mastermind behind the Chicago based band In Tall Buildings, could have everyone listen to two albums it would be Neil Young’s On The Beach and Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians, two strikingly different albums. One is a powerful expression of minimalism that is highly technical and enveloping, the other is well, Neil Young hanging out on the beach. The albums are far removed from each other but after listening to In Tall Buildings’ latest release Driver which is out February 17th, the influences they’ve had on Hall couldn’t be more apparent.

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February 23, 2015

This month, The BandWagon sat down with Aly Spralto, more commonly known as Lady Lamb The Beekeeper. In our conversation, we talk about her creative process, touring, and the writing and recording of her new album After. Check out the March issue of BandWagon Magazine to see our review.

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NMM: Smoke and Mirrors— Imagine Dragons

Imagine Dragons, the quartet from sin-city capital Las Vegas, Nevada released Smoke and Mirrors this weekend. Their second studio album stands to fill some large shoes as their debut album Night Visions went platinum winning the band’s number one single “Radioactive” a Grammy for Best Rock Performance. Smoke and Mirrors track “I Bet My Life” has been looping through radio networks since last fall, giving fans a taste of the upcoming album, yet their single is no indication as to the overall sound of the album.

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Humble Fish: Chali 2na Keeps His Ego at Bay

February 19, 2015

As the baritone voice of Jurassic 5 (J5), Chali 2na has been lending monumental contributions to hip-hop culture since he emerged from Los Angeles’ Good Life Cafe scene in the early ‘90s. Originally part of the Unity Committee (with Cut Chemist and Mark 7even), Chali 2na formed J5 after merging with The Rebels of Rhythm (with Akil and Soup) in 1993. After J5’s self-titled debut dropped in 1998, the group followed up with 2000’s critically acclaimed sophomore effort, Quality Control. On the track “Contribution,” Chali 2na spits: “The most that you can spend on any child is time.” It’s a philosophy he took to heart and carried into his family dynamic. Growing up on the Southside of Chicago, the now 43-year-old artist was lacking a strong male role model in his life.

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