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Zion I and Minnesota 

When: Fri., Oct. 5, 9 p.m. 2012
Price: $20

Few indie hip-hop groups have the staying power of Zion I, an Oakland duo with a fairly distinct sound, owing both to the high, scratchy cadence of its emcee, Zumbi, and the glitchy beats of its producer, Amp Live. The duo has managed to stay relevant for fifteen years by assiduously studying, and gradually absorbing, new trends in hip-hop. Though it spawned from the "backpacker" realm, Zion I kept pace when hyphy rappers dominated the genre, launching collaborations with Mistah F.A.B. and Clyde Carson, but maintaining ties with its more peace-and-love-oriented counterparts. That knack for reaching across the aisle gave the group credibility in a genre that's long been balkanized. Zion I's 2010 album, Atomic Clock, showed Amp and Zumbi veering in a more worldish direction, adding tabla to their battery of drum machines and samples. If anything, it showed the group's adventuresome instincts and general curiosity about music were both well intact. Zion I performs at Mezzanine (444 Jessie St., San Francisco) with Minnesota on Friday, Oct. 5. 9 p.m., $20. MezzanineSF.com

— Rachel Swan

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