Ten years after the release of their debut single, Oakland hip-hop duo Zion I return with "The Takeover," a filler-free new mix of jabs, roundhouses and uppercuts that continue their streak as one of hip-hop's most diverse groups. Over the course of five LPs and numerous EPs and mixtapes, the group has proven to be a welcome enigma in hip-hop. From the electro-rap homage "DJ DJ" to the spacey futuristic synths of "Antenna," "The Takeover" encapsulates the diversity and versatility that have made Zion I Bay Area stalwarts for over a decade. As with any Zion I album, there'll never be any compromise away from deep thought, but as anyone who's seen the pair live knows, that means nothing if the crowd ain't entertained. One listen to the album, and you'll know "The Takeover" may be the most appropriate title of the year.
At first glance, Christian Bauhofer comes off as the unassuming dude yawning next to you in class. He looks like some kind of lumberjack/nerd fusion with his glasses and scruffy hair. Come up to the same man after the sun goes down, with the addition of a few drinks and a whole lot of bass, and you will find the smiling Christian assuming his party crushing alter-ego: Minnesota. Minnesota's first EP, "Panda Snatching Tycoon", was released on Tycho Records in January 2011 and has found critical acclaim since then. His next official release came from Mal Label and was titled "Ancient Machines," which was number nine on the addictech.com best seller's list for the year, and every track from the album charted on the beatport.com glitch hop charts. During this time, Minnesota also managed to put out a free EP with Martyparty called "Ultraviolet Halo" which was released in July 2011. This just proved that Minnesota shows no signs of slowing down as an artist.