Zion I - Deep Water Slang 2.0 (Review)

Zion I - Deep Water Slang 2.0 (cover)

Zion I's second album, Deep Water Slang 2.0, was released in 2003 and features appearances from Pep Love, The Grouch, Goapele, Aceyalone and others. The album was originally set to be released in 2002, but was pushed back and reworked after Zion I's label folded.

1) Jhambo - Skit

2) The Drill - Ignoring the skit, the album kicks off with an energetic instrumental that slowly builds up as MC Zumbi begins spitting. The beat is dope and MC Zumbi comes correct.
"Stranded on this island
Myself needing solid ground
Let the match spark the flame like a pilot
See me on the side and little Z better holla
Always pop my collar, roll like a rottweiler"

This was the third and final single off the album and its a good way to start off the album.

3) Warriors Dance (featuring Pep Love) - I've never really been a huge fan of the beat on this song. It's not horrible, but it seems a bit generic. Both MC Zumbi and Pep Love sound good over it, but this song has never been a highlight for me.

4) Finger Paint (featuring Susie Suh and D.U.S.T) - In a complete 180 from the previous song, the beat on here is something that sounds like a classic Amp Live production. The instrumental is beautiful and incorporates some synths and an electric guitar. Susie Suh provides an ethereal chorus and MC Zumbi rips it, but D.U.S.T. doesn't really do much with the song. I understand that the song is supposed to be abstract, but lyrics like "Feel my fingerpaint on my parabola" are just a bit odd. Still, this is one of my favorite songs on the album.

5) Kharma - The beat on here is ill and MC Zumbi rips it...when he is rapping. He attempts to sing a reggae hook on this song and I'm not feeling it. About half way through the instrumental changes up a bit and the vocals take on an electronic element, which is pretty dope. Not a great song, but not terrible.

6) Flow (featuring The Grouch and Goapele) - The first time Zion I and The Grouch teamed up was on Silly Puddy off of Zion I's Mind Over Matter album. That song was one of the dopest songs on the album. This one is not. The beat is real mellow and spacey, but it's nothing compared to Silly Puddy. Everyone on here comes correct, but I expected more from this team-up.

7) A.E.I.O.U - This is a filler track. The instrumental is a generic synth beat that features a chorus that spells out the vowels and MC Zumbi spits a line for each letter. Pass.

8) DeepWaterSlang - Skit

9) Cheeba Cheeba (featuring Aceyalone) - I'm not feeling this track either. The beat is generic and just does nothing for me. MC Zumbi and Aceyalone sound ok, but the chorus is pretty terrible. Bleh.

10) Kick Snare - Beatbox skit. Not bad.

11) Sorry - Finally some dope music. The beat is mellow and ethereal and reminds me a bit of track four - Finger Paint. I really love how Amp Live blends synths and live instrumentation to compose some of these instrumentals. MC Zumbi's lyrics on here are reflective of the title of the song:
"Sorry, didn't mean to hurt nobody
Sorry, never knew I was hurting you
I'm sorry"
This is one of the best tracks on the album.

13) Le Le Le (featuring D.U.S.T. and Deuce Eclipse) - This song is more aggressive and energetic than the previous few. The beat is full of heavy synths and has a strong electronica influence. MC Zumbi comes correct, but the guests sound pretty terrible. This would have been a much better song without them.

14) Boom Bip (featuring Goapele) - Now THIS is dope. Once again, the beat is ethereal and abstract, but this time its got some dusty drums to go along with it. Goapele provides an otherwordly chorus and MC Zumbi rips it. This is one of my favorite songs on the album and was also the first single from it.

15) Mind Blow - Amp Live's instrumental is synth heavy and includes a dope guitar lick with some hard hitting drums. The energy on here is intense and MC Zumbi destroys it.
"I'll take a runaway train from the reigns of shame
And focus things so my head don't hear my brain
It's how I'm seeing, keeping it even with balanced breathing
When the Zion train come it's the last one leaving
I'll be long gone, when I'm finally home
Just relaxing from the action in the danger zone
It's my rest bit, catching my breath before I exit
Return to the Earth, be on some next shit, bless this"
I've always really liked this song.

16) Dune - The beat for this song has a Middle Eastern influence and is quite dope. The vocals are distorted and make it a bit hard to understand some of the lyrics, but the song doesn't really suffer due to it. This is pretty ill.

17) One More Thing (featuring Susie Suh) - Another slower track, this time with a acoustic guitar and more distorted vocals. Susie Suh provides the hook. This is a very experimental song and it turns out pretty good. It's not my favorite, but its not bad.

18) Rock Y'all - The beat on here sounds like a sped up Wu track. Its quite hectic and quite ill. MC Zumbi is spitting rapid-fire on here. Dope.

I'm going to give the album a

 3.5 / 5

because there are a bunch of filler tracks in the middle of the album. Also, the album has some experimental tracks that were hit or miss. Still, some of the songs on here are classic Zion I and should not be missed. While not as good as their first album, Mind Over Matter, the album is still really good.


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