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Zion I & The Grouch are about to release their second collabo album on March 22, 2011. With this album they want to inspire people during these challenging times. In this interview they talk about their own hardship and their solution. Naturally, their new album and working together is the main topic. So go ahead and while you are reading, get yourself a coconut to drink - The Grouch's advice.

[Q]: First off, congratulations on your new album 'Heroes In The Healing Of The Nation'. What's the story behind the album?

Zumbi (emcee of Zion I) [Z]: We came together with the intention to create a work of art that would inspire people during these challenging times. It's all about the evolution of consciousness and learning to empower ourselves and one another.

Amp Live (producer of Zion I) [AMP]: We wanted the title to be similar to the last album [Heroes in the City of Dope], to continue the theme. But we also wanted to update. It's definitely a healing time for the world. So the title applies in globally.

The Grouch [G]: We're all were born into this universe as perfectly imperfect divine spiritual beings. Sometimes we forget that. We put together an album to help people remember. I feel like we're all heroes and the more everybody knows that, the better off we'll all be. Each one teach one.

[Q]: A lot of people are in difficult situation nowadays. Have you ever been in a difficult situation? Anything recent? How did you resolve the issue?

[Z]: Definitely, that's part of life. A close friend of mine was recently put in a mental hospital. It was an unnerving experience, but I just prayed and visited him as often as I could. Eventually, he came out of it, and returned to normal. In situations like these, faith is essential.

[AMP]: Of course. I am in a difficult situation everyday. Part of being a adult I would say. Life gives you obstacles and choices. You just do your best to follow your inner voice.

[G]: I was diagnosed with and treated for a health condition by western medical doctors when I was 18. Nothing too serious but recently as a result of the treatment some issues popped up that really kind of scared me. I did a lot of studying and went to see some alternative healer types. We came up with a proper plan (mostly, diet, exercise and natural supplements) which didn't involve synthetic drug prescriptions (like the doctors prescribed). I feel improvement everyday.

[Q]: When creating a track, do you have a set theme and pre-written lyrics, or do you start with an idea or the music first?

[Z]: There is not a set way that we create. Sometimes, the beats come first, and other times the concept weighs more heavily from the onset.

[AMP]: It goes both ways. On this album we mostly went off the music first. On the song "Be a Father" and "Journey To Forever", the vibe was set before the music was done.

[G]: I usually like to marinate with the music and let it help generate what comes next.

[Q]: Which song on "Heroes In The Healing Of The Nation" took the longest to complete? Why?

[Z]: Like a G took awhile, because it took a minute to find a concept and hook which matched the music.

[AMP]: Definitely Journey To Forever. The song is totally different from where it started. I wrote this song with Eric Rachmany from Rebelution last year and they used a different version for their album. That version wasn't fitting our album, so we had to flip it.

[G]: Both the songs that they mentioned. Those are the last two songs on the record. Hmmm

[Q]: Whats the deal with 2 groups/artists releasing a collabo album?

[Z]: It's a way to combine forces and energize our fan bases together. Just like jazz, hip hop is all about collaborations.

[AMP]: Grouch and Zion I have always done good music together on the first couple of Zion I albums. So when you have two artists with good chemistry, good things happen. So we want to continue it by doing this project.

[G]: It's good to collaborate with other people. It brings about results that you don't get when creating alone. There's a time and place for each. Art and experimentation go hand in hand. I like to work with Zion I because the process is completely different than when I get together with Eligh or Living Legends. When it's all said and done I just like the music we make.

[Q]: How hard is it, after releasing multiple albums on your own, to work with another artist/band?

[Z]: The making of the music is easier, but the business decisions can be more difficult because there are more minds involved. So, it's just a matter of everyone getting on the same page.

[AMP]: If you give yourself time and space, it is easy. The more cooks in the kitchen, the more crowded and difficult. So you get a bigger kitchen.

[G]: I have to write less lyrics when we team up but money is also split more ways. Two groups together ideally means more fans. It's fun to be on the road with more folks. Great people mean great times.

[Q]: What can your listeners and fans expect from your tour?

[Z]: Great energy, an exceptional show front to back, and impassioned lyricism.

[AMP]: Fun elevating street slaps.

[G]: Good vibes, strong performance, exceptional merchandise, happy faces, deep bass, positive messages, talented opening acts, new music!

[Q]: What is your main goal to reach as a band?

[Z]: To inspire people to seek the higher aspects of themselves.

[AMP]: To heal the nation.

[G]: To learn how to be the best people we can be and inspire others through music that they like.

[Q]: Recently, what is a typical day like for you?

[Z]: Wake up, stretch, feed the dogs, check emails, watch my baby, make calls, hopefully write, practice wushu, kiss my lady, go to sleep.

[AMP]: I get up, go to my studio and check emails. Then start crackin' away at beats. Go to lunch. Come back, work some more. Then head home.

[G]: Right now I've been working too hard, I rather not list it out. My goal is to be on the computer and phone a lot less than I've been. I give thanks that I've been around my family everyday and that I'm blessed to run an independent business making music amongst many other things.

[Q]: Final words?
[Z]: Peace, love, and prosperity! Check out Zumbi808.com

[AMP]: Hope you enjoy this project. See you at the show!

[G]: Can I go drink a coconut now?

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