How did MC Zumbi die? Zion I hip-hop star, 49, rapped about mysticism and social issues

MC Zumbi along with his group shot to fame with records like ‘Mind Over Matter’, ‘Atomic Clock’ and ‘The Takeover’ among others

                            How did MC Zumbi die? Zion I hip-hop star, 49, rapped about mysticism and social issues
MC Zumbi was part of the hip-hop collectove Zion I ([email protected]_i_crew)

Prolific Bay Area emcee Zumbi, whose real name was Steve Gaines, died on Friday, August 13. The news was shared by his grieving family. He was 49. Gaines also went by the name of Baba Zumbi and hugely contributed in shaping a generation of Golden State emcees. He is now survived by his mother, his brother, and three sons.

MC Zumbi was part of the hip-hop collective called Zion I that largely focused on social issues and spiritual hip hop, while bringing East African mysticism into the spotlight. Artists K-Genius and Amp Live were other members of the project. MC Zumbi along with his group shot to fame with records like ‘Mind Over Matter’, ‘Atomic Clock’ and ‘The Takeover’ among others. Speaking of untimely deaths in hip-hop, fans are still mourning the recent deaths of artists and contributors like DMX, Chi Modu, Biz Markie, and Gonzoe among others.

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How did MC Zumbi die?

According to HipHopDX, the family of the late rapper released an official statement, saying, “It is with utter disbelief and great sadness that the Gaines family shares the news of the passing of Steve “Zumbi” Gaines on Friday, August 13, 2021. Gaines, 49 and the MC of the critically acclaimed hip-hop group Zion I, passed away at Alta Bates Hospital today in the early morning from unknown causes. The family requests privacy in this very challenging time while they await further details.” The statement continued, “Steve is survived by three sons, his mother, and his brother. He was working on a Zion I reunion tour with longtime producer and collaborator, Amp Live, to honor the legacy of their musical endeavors for their fans.”

Though the family members did not shed light on the cause of the death, it was later revealed that MC Zumbi apparently died from Covid-19 symptoms. According to the same publication, sources spilled the beans that the talented rapper had tested positive for Covid-19 and was in and out of the hospital in the last few weeks. DJ True Justice, who regularly toured with Zumbi, told HipHopDX via a text that the emcee suffered a catastrophic asthma attack while in the hospital and could never recover.

“Zumbi of the Legendary Oakland Crew, Zion-I passed away this morning. He was recovering from COVID and had a severe asthma attack and his heart stopped. He died in the hospital. They were unable to revive him.”

A renowned cultural publication from the Bay Area called Thizzler On The Roof also shared the news on Twitter saying, ““We are sad to announce that the head MC of Zion I, Zumbi has passed away. The Oakland native was a tremendously gifted Emcee & was well respected amongst his peers in the Bay Area rap scene. We send our condolences to his family & loved ones. #RIPZumbi”. The late rapper began releasing music under the Zion I name in 2000 along with DJ and producer Amp Live. The group later dropped seven full-length albums with several mixtapes and collaborations.





‘So talented, so humble, so sweet…’

Social media users along with friends and colleagues of MC Zumbi poured in their tributes on Twitter. One user stated, “RIP to the Oakland Berkeley Legend Baba Zumbi. Dead tonight from COVID19. He was unvaccinated. Get vaccinated.” One posted, “Man, RIP Zumbi of Zion I… Heartbroken.” Another user shared, “Heartbroken. Zion I have always been a band very close to my heart. RIP Zumbi.”
The next one tweeted, “At Berkeley High in 2002 I signed up for this after school music program at La Peña. Zion I came and taught us about working in music then we played a show with them. Probably my 1st Dj gig in a club. Grateful for Zumbi and Amplive for the memories. #ripzumbi.”

Meanwhile, another stated, “RIP Zumbi from Zion I. If you lived in the bay in the last 20 years then you can’t overstate their presence.” One user concluded, “So talented, so humble, so sweet…you and Amp Live were/are always Kings in my eyes. From this side to the other we love you Zumbi. #RipZumbi”.













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