(AllHipHop News) Bay area rap veterans The Grouch and Zumbi will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday with a new collaborative EP with Santana’s trumpet player, Bill Ortiz.
The Grouch and Zumbi by are among the artists who have teamed with Bill Ortiz to release the album Winter in America, which is the predecessor to his forthcoming album, Highest Wish.
Bill Ortiz has played with Santana for over 12 years, but he has also been connected to the Hip-Hop world as well.
Bill Ortiz has played trumpet on a variety of Hip-Hop artists’ tracks, including “93 til Infinity,” which was a hit for the Souls of Mischief, as well as songs by Tony Toni Tone, Destiny’s Child, TLC, and others.
“Carlos has always used music to inspire and bring people together,” Ortiz explained. “I follow in that tradition. I’ve been really encouraged by some of the Bay Area Hip-Hop artists like Zumbi and the Grouch who make music with enlightened lyrics.”
In addition to the rappers on the album, Winter in America also features guest appearances by Santana member Tony Lindsay and poet Linda Tillery, who delivers a spoken word performance with Dr. Martin Luther King’s Nobel Peace Prize winning speech.
“We often celebrate ignorance in our society, so I wanted to celebrate consciousness,” Ortiz said of the album, which also features a cover of Gil Scott Heron’s 1973 track, “Winter in America,” in honor of Gil Scott’s honor.
Winter in America the EP drops on Martin Luther King Day, January 16, 2012, direct to fans, while the worldwide digital/physical release is scheduled for January 31st.