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Zion I 

When: Sat., June 19, 9 p.m. 2010
Price: $15-$20

It's rare for a hip-hop group to attain real longevity, and also keep in step with the times. Zion I managed to do both. If anything, the hip-hop group got better with age. When emcee Zumbi (then Zion) and DJ Amp Live began collaborating in the late '90s, they pretty much defined Oakland's version of backpacker rap: sanctimonious lyrics, melodic beats, references to Jah. With last year's The Take Over they got a lot more imaginative, veering more into dubstep and electronica. At a certain point, it became clear that Amp Live was ready to cut his own cloth -- the DJs new experiments with rock, funk, and futuristic beats were taking him well beyond the hip-hop duo format. Amp Live's new solo album, Murder at the Discotech, includes fantastic collaborations with Golda Supernova, Mickey Factz, and Rebecca Bortman (of the indie band My First Earthquake). He'll commemorate the record release this Saturday, June 19 at Shattuck Down Low (2284 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley), in the company of Zumbi and several special guests. 9 p.m. $15, 20 ShattuckDownLow.com

— Rachel Swan

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