Music News

The Ground Zero Movement

People in the know realize that Future I.D. was released late last year. The problem is, most folks aren't in the know, which helps explain why one of the best hip-hop discs ever to come out of Colorado hasn't made more of a bang. This review is an effort to turn up the noise.

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.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts