With the exception of the Procussions, solo MCs ranging from Kingdom to Don Blas have soaked up the lion's share of attention paid to Denver-area hip-hop acts. The Ground Zero Movement, in contrast, is an egalitarian collective whose lyricists -- Dow Jones, Aseone, Sid Fly and D.O. Da Fabulous Drifta, abetted by DJ See Why? -- have jointly committed themselves to a life of rhyme. The variety of voices on I.D. is matched by tracks that mix up the music rather than subtly tweak the same beat a dozen times. "M.H.C." is powered by a mega-funk bass line and heavily goosed background vocals; "Survival" rages on machine-tooled riffs; "Maintain" pairs a soulful hook with a gentle piano loop; and "Kings of the Underground" goes from gloomy to ecstatic over the course of several blissful minutes. And while the lyrics include typical tropes about niggas and beyotches, they also encompass statements of purpose such as the "Wet Doe" declaration "With the weight of the world/And no shoes on my feet/I'm walkin' the extra mile/Until my soul is complete."
Before the Rocky Mountain West can become ground zero for hip-hop nationally, locals need to get on board -- and this is one Movement worth joining. Better late than never.