ZumbiThe Burnerz are a new duo consisting of Zumbi of the hip-hop group Zion I and the Houston-based Trackmasters producer, The Are. After a year of scratching out rhymes, making beats, mixing, and mastering, The Burnerz — who met on tour in Europe in 2003 — just completed their first release together.

For the album, the duo recruited The Grouch, One.Be.Lo, Martin Luther, and C-Holiday.

“Instead of going through layers of editing (like we do for Zion I), we tried to capture the raw emotion of both lyrics and beats for this album,” explains Zumbi of his approach.

Zumbi has always set a new standard for socially conscious hip-hop and this album is no exception. On the track “The Edge”, The Grouch and Zumbi trade rhymes about snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. “It’s about feeling hopeless and fearful, but having just enough strength to turn around and confront one’s demons,” explains Zumbi.

As the charismatic MC of Bay Area group Zion I, Zumbi has released six critically acclaimed albums along with numerous EPs and mixtapes. He has also contributed to the Grammy-Award winning group Linkin Park’s album Reanimation, as well as the BassNectar album, and mixtapes for the Roots, K’naan and Q-Tip.

Currently, Zion I are touring with reggae sensations Rebelution. Their seventh album, Atomic Clock, drops November 9.

Veteran producer, The Are, hails from Houston, TX but his production style is more drum-heavy east coast in sound than southern. He began his career with the trio K-Otix in the early mid-90s, touring Europe and releasing the 2001 LP, Universal, and contributing two tracks for EMC (Punchline, Masta Ace, Wordsworth, and Stricklin). But, it’s been within the last couple years, that The Are has flourished. After signing with the production team the Trackmasters, he produced singles for Keyshia Cole (“Where this Love?”), Lil Kim and Lords of the Underground, as well as many others. His Michael Jackson instrumental remix CD, Dem Damb Jacksons, became an online collectors item in 2007. Finally, he produced the first single off the forthcoming Keyshia Cole album.

Fans will have to wait until October 12 to hear The Burnerz, but they promise to leak new singles (not on the record) every week until then.