By JR Valrey, the People’s Minister of Information
After performing at a show in Nevada City on July 24, Steve “Zumbi” Gaines of the internationally known Hip Hop group Zion I, was recovering from Covid 19, that he contracted along with 30 other people that were there. He also had asthma, which had been bothering him recently, most likely aggravated by the Covid.
At 5:16am, on August 13th, Berkeley Police were called to Alta Bates Hospital and on arrival, they began to handcuff an unidentified man that nurses and hospital security staff had pinned down. The Berkeley Police determined that Steve “Zumbi” Gaines was dead at the scene, according to reports.
On August 15, 2021 the San Francisco Chronicle dropped a bombshell article which informed the public that Steve “Zumbi” Gaines’ death prompted the Berkeley Police to open a homicide investigation, looking into the altercation that Zumbi had with medical security staff right before his death.
4 weeks to the day of his passing, many pillars in the Bay Area Hip Hop community are in a state of disbelief, that there has been no new information released by Alta Bates Hospital, the Berkeley Police, or the city of Berkeley to the general public, in regards to this case. The part that covid and the vaccine has played in his passing is extremely important, because many people close to Steve “Zumbi” Gaines, have been mumbling, outside of the media, that Zumbi fought the hospital’s security staff because he was being forced to take the covid vaccination, but this has not been substantiated.
“Based on what I knew about the brother and his health, and how he lived his life, he took care of his body, and was conscious of what he put in it. As soon as I heard about foul play, and him having covid, it didn’t sit with me well,” said PK of Goldenmean Management, the manager of acts such as the Husalah, Traxamillion, and the late Jacka. Zumbi appeared on the Jacka’s 2009 album “Tear Gas”.
“I was shocked that there was a narrative going around that it was Covid related. So the news about the investigation took me by surprise. It also infuriated me to think that he was taken from his family in this manner,” said marketing consultant and promoter, Tom Flannery of Ankh Integrated.
“I am frustrated with the lack of transparency. It has been almost a month and I haven’t heard any follow up news, regarding the results or progress from this investigation.”
Ankh Marketing has collaborated with Zion I, and Zumbi as a solo act, on over 20 shows over their decade plus relationship.
“We went to high school at De La Salle, the football school. I remember that even then, he could dance real good, and he had charisma. He had a big smile and joy that brought people in.
One day, years later, Zumbi came back from Atlanta, and he, Kev Weston, and Deuce Eclipse met up at my mom’s house where we turned the living room into a studio,” said Malcolm Marshall, a friend, fellow Bay Area musician, and the publisher of the Richmond Pulse newspaper.
“I produced a track using a George Benson break beat, and they each wrote verses. Steve was the star of the show. With his flow, his voice, and vocal tone, you knew this guy had something.”
“(Zion I) has very positive Hip Hop sounds that are uplifting for the culture, and for everybody. It’s very inclusive music. It makes people feel good, and it means a lot to the Bay, especially for me, and Jack (aka rapper the Jacka), and our movement; because Zion I was one of those groups, because of the music that they make, they were able to maneuver into a lot of spaces and perform,” said PK of Goldenmean Management.
“They have a very broad fan base. They were one of the first local Bay Area groups that I saw that were able to go into these venues in northern California, and on the west coast and perform. They had big venues and big sold out shows, and they opened up their platform for Jacka to come perform, and be on stages such as the Fillmores and the Catalysts and these bigger spaces, that we weren’t able to get into before. And that opened the door for us to be able to do that for other artists like the Berners and Philthys, and people like that,” explained PK of Goldenmean Management. “Whether people know it or not, Zion I opened the door for a lot of people to perform and get seen and heard, on a bigger scale, in our home areas.”
Zion I and Zumbi as a solo act have toured and collaborated with Stephen Marley, Linkin Park, Rebelution, Mac Mall, Bassnectar, San Quinn, DJ True Justice, and Equipto to name a few.
This article is a demand from a few of the titans in the Bay Area music scene, and Black New World Media, to the rest of the Bay Area music scene to get active in demanding answers in this alleged murder case, in any way and every way that yall know how to.
There is also a go-fund me for the children of Steve “Zumbi” Gaines, please contribute if you have the means to. https://www.gofundme.com/f/in-remembrance-of-steve-zumbi-gaines