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30 August, 2003@12:00 am

Zion I has put in some work over the last few years; check the resume: From the underground album of the year in The Source (Mind Over Matter), to the evolving of the groups sound on their follow up (Deep Water Slang 2.0), to being featured on the X-Games and as the only hip hop group in MTV’s 2$ Bill tour competition. They have built up enough steam to put out an EP for their fans featuring B-sides, freestyles, and remixes as well as some new joints. With that Curb Servin serves the purpose to keep the fans mouths wet while they concoct another work of art.

While the sound of Zion I has metamorphosed from Mind Over Matter to Deep Water Slang 2.0, one would figure that fans would get the best of both worlds from their vault of material…not quite. Utilizing the sound that shaped Deep Water Slang 2.0 (Amp Live has handled the beats entirely since the departure of K-Genius), Curb Servin brings forth what would be considered more of a compilation than their own body of work. While the album includes a dope reworking of the neck snapping “Cheeba Cheeba (Tex Mix)” feat. Aceyalone and soul rocker Martin Luther and a mellow remix of “Flow Liquid (Remix)”, the rest of the album is nothing more than an introduction to their other artists Dust and Deuce Eclipse. Is this a bad thing? Yes and no. While it is vital to put up and coming artists out, it is this that hurts the EP. At thirteen tracks deep Dust and Deuce appear on seven tracks. It wouldn’t be so bad if they were lyrically sound, but they actually take away from the resonance of the EP. Dust’s solo offering “Same Cycle” is rather bland with what seems to be a throwaway beat from Deep Water Slang. Deuce’s solo “Ali memeti” doesn’t come up as  inferior with a reggae tinged backdrop, but nothing to call moms about either.  All in all, the EP plods along in a rather dry manner where the beats supplied just aren’t up to par with any of Zion’s previous work.  With Zion also not being considered absolute stellar lyricicsts, by them standing without that production that accentuated their lyrical talents proves to hurt more than anything.  Not to say that it doesn’t have it’s moments, which include the aforementioned “Cheeba Cheeba” and “Flow” remixes. But the truely splendid moment is LA track master Madlib’s “Critical (Remix)” feat. Planet Asia. Madlib serves up his trademark polished production in which Asia steals the show.

Aside from the previously mentioned mishaps, Curb Servin’ serves its purpose. It hands out some new and unreleased material to keep each Zion fan happy. But with that material barely holding a candle to anything on the previous two Zion offerings can Zion really consider the release a success? For the heads out there drooling for another release…yes, but for those who aren’t Zion fanatics… not really.

  Mixtape D.L.
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