Talking about intelligent hip hop always sounds unbelievably pretentious, like you're trying to give fine wine status to rappers that went to Ivy League schools. Sure, it's easy to name-drop artists, but if you're secretly listening to Will Smith's Summertime over and over, the gig is up. Time to find a new summer album, one that you can depend on, ten times out of ten.
That's why Zion I and The Grouch's latest album, 'Heroes in the City of Dope', is a fantastic way to tear the handcuffs off the beginning of summer, with mellow rhythms and live instruments making way to smooth, charcoal-filtered lyrics – like it's drizzled over shaved ice. The only way for this album to sound any better is if it were reduced to a pure musical chemical and injected directly into my pituitary gland.
The best part about buying this album is that it'll surprise your compadres and associates. You'll be sitting there, passing to the left hand side, and someone'll ask 'Hey, this is good shit, man, what is this?'
You'll barely look up and sneer like an art critic as you tell them that it's the freshest album out of Oakland, a collaboration between Zion I and The Grouch. If there are any hot girls/guys around, they'll immediately give you that half-smile with the sparkling eye contact, and you'll get a reputation as the guy with ‘the great taste in music'. It never hurts to be that guy.
The second best part about buying this album is that Zion I and The Grouch manage to avoid most of the tedious clichés that exhaust the commercial hip hop scene… there's no bravado, no gun violence, no bragging about sexual prowess. In fact, in a move that might prove to be more offensive than all of that, I suspect that the group is encouraging kids to do well in school and have a positive self-image.