Before he went solo, Grand Agent aka Jared Talyor was in a hiphop group called NAME out of Philly with DJ Mr Cisum and Ozzie Jones.
Every record these guys would drop, I would pick up.
Around 2000 or so I managed to acquire the holy grail: NAME’s full length album, Lost Page Of The B-Boy Document from HipHopSite.com as a promo. It was never officially released. Suffice to say the album is a treasure: find it by all means necessary.
Coincidentally, Mr. Cisum worked at 3rd Story Recordings which is where Tajai and I mixed and mastered Projecto: 2501. Mr. Cisum was in on those sessions as an engineer on the periphery. We are talking ’98 or ’99.
Mark Sarisky was the main engineer on Projecto and he maintains the same title on this NAME track shared below.
Just to reinforce that this is all in the family, recording Projecto at 3rd Story Recordings was also the first time I met Mike “Lowbeezy” of Hollertronix fame who did scratches on the Projecto album and would go on to become a great friend.
I save a lot of shit. I have backups of backups of gifs, videos, Photoshop PSD’s, you name it. And occasionally I will search for one thing, and come upon a treasure trove of Other Things.
Such was the case earlier today when I stumbled upon the files that amounted to my departure from the site I created and maintained between 1995 – 2001: Hieroglyphics.com.
By 2001, I had become close friends with Hiero and was even recording music with them. It was no longer possible to maintain Hieroglyphics.com as a “fan site” any longer: after six years of friendship and creative and business partnership, I was simply far too embedded. So I made the difficult decision to leave and pass the site on to new blood, and trust — it was a very difficult decision.
How do you leave something you created and cultivated for over six years? I struggled with a proper sendoff for weeks. In the end, I left with a simple “farewell,” but prior to arriving at that decision, I reached out to friends for their perspective on the site’s legacy.
One such friend was Bay Area DJ and journalist DJ Enki, aka Pete Babb. And it is his epitaph I discovered this morning that I would like to share with you below. It serves as a great history recap of the site and Hiero’s independent beginnings, and also features a lot of great facts that I had forgotten (such as the original title to Del’s Future Development album). And special shout out to Steelee for the Hiero crew illustration used above. It almost featured in a Hiero.com redesign I was working on prior to my departure.
Following Pete’s fantastic tribute to Hieroglyphics.com below is a tombstone illustration by illustrator Colm Doherty that we chose not to run with my farewell post. The reason being was although I was leaving, Hieroglyphics.com was continuing, and so, a tombstone representing a death just didn’t suit the reality of the situation. But I present it as a piece of Hieroglyphics.com memorabilia anyway. Enjoy:
Hieroglyphics.com has come a long way in a short six(!) years. Its origins are humble enough, premiering August 15, 1995 as a simple fan site run by Philadelphia-based web designer Stinke. Not even a month later, Tajai from Souls of Mischief came across the page and contacted Stinke, hoping to form a working relationship to give Hieroglyphics a solid online presence. Little did he know what he had started.
The site immediately became a conduit of breaking news and information regarding Hieroglyphics. This alone put it ahead of the power curve; most musicians hadn’t figured out how to use the Web to their advantage, assuming they even wanted to be on the web at all. In another groundbreaking move, the Hiero Hoopla bulletin board debuted on February 6, 1996. Hiero Hoopla would become a burgeoning online community for the fiercely loyal Hieroglyphics fans, many of whom flocked to the Internet to read about the group. Furthermore, the development of Hoopla served as a prototype for other artist-related websites. Today, the concept of using the site to create a community around the artists is the norm; in 1996, it was a heady experiment.
The timing of the site proved fortuitous as well. By May of 1996, the “hieroglyphics.com” domain name had been purchased (the site originally resided as an extension of the webcom.com domain under the name “Tha Threshold”), and the entire site moved to that domain, becoming the official Hieroglyphics website. And through all of 1996 and the beginning of 1997, the Hieroglyphics crew found themselves in a state of transition. Casual and Souls of Mischief were dropped from Jive records, and Del the Funky Homosapien was dropped from Elektra Records on the eve of the completion of his third solo album, Stress the World (later renamed Future Development). In the midst of all this chaos, Hieroglyphics used their website to stay afloat. They began selling merchandise such as T-shirts and previously unreleased music in order to keep fans interested and fund future projects.
Their strategy certainly paid off. When Future Development was released via the website in March of 1997, orders far exceeded stock. Successes like these allowed the Hieroglyphics.com site to garner more attention every day, and the group was able to form the Hieroglyphics Imperium indie label and begin recording the Hieroglyphics family album 3rd Eye Vision in part due to money and support gotten through the website. Despite a fatal hard drive crash on August 11, 1997, that completely wiped out the computer that makes Hieroglyphics.com, the site continued to flourish, and the online community continued to grow and become even more tightly knit.
By the time 3rd Eye Vision finally dropped in March of 1998, Hieroglyphics.com had cemented its reputation as a trendsetter. Other artists noticed the online community of Hieroglyphics faithful, saw how the site had buoyed the artists when they were dropped from their labels, and realized how powerful a promotional tool the Internet could be based on the buzz for 3rd Eye Vision the site had generated. As a result, Hieroglyphics.com became the model for numerous other artist sites that attempted to duplicate the community and promotional aspects that had been so successful. In this way, Hieroglyphics.com is a prototype. It has become a legacy of sorts, its fingerprints readily identifiable across the Internet.
Through multiple redesigns, extensive growth, artist participation, and a vocal and faithful community, Hieroglyphics.com has remained the standard bearer for hip-hop—and indeed all music—online. Sites modeled after it continue to look to it for guidance and direction, and through this adaptation, it has become immortal, not just to the faithful Hieroglyphics fans, but to Internet users all over.
– Pete (AKA DJ Enki), site visitor since September 1995.
Japanese producer (and one of my personal favorite artists), Cornelius is producing the soundtrack to the new Ghost in the Shell: Arise anime OVA-movie. The four-part series is a re-imaging / prequel of the original Ghost in the Shell manga. Production I.G returns as the animation studio and production house, continuing their brilliant work on all things GITS.
As much as I loved Yoko Kanno’s work on Stand Alone Complex (I could write an entire blog about her work…don’t even get me started on Macross Plus & Cowboy Bebop), I ain’t mad with Cornelius taking the reigns for Arise. I think it will add a super textured layered to the new series.
No word on when a domestic release will, ahem, arise…But it’s already rolling out in Japan so hopefully sooner rather than later.
It’s funny how these things happen…I was looking through some old files and came across the very first audio recording I ever made in RealAudio. You remember RealAudio, right?
Way back when we were using telephones to dial-up our connections to the Internet, RealAudio provided a low-bandiwdth codec that was efficient enough to encode audio in a file size that could stream (that is: play and download at the same time) over 14.4 or 28.8 Kbps modem connections. It was quite a revelation at the time.
But the ironic thing about this discovery of mine is that we launched this new feature on Hieroglyphics.com on exactly October 30th, 1996. That’s 16 years ago to the day. Freaky.
Anyway, I won’t hold you up. I’ve converted the RealAudio clip below into MP3 and also provided the original RealAudio file for you tweakerz; it’s a piece of Hieroglyphics.com history. And below those files, please find the original news post as it appeared on Hieroglpyhics.com announcing RealAudio’s arrival:
Thanks to all those who helped fill out our questionnaire this month! Over 95% of you thought RealAudio would be an excellent addition to Hieroglyphics Dot Com, so we went out and purchased a server! Again, your imput means a lot to us here at Hiero Online. Although you may write me a suggestion, and never get a reply back, please be assurred that I read all of my mail! I do get a lot of it, and am not able to respond to each one, but all of your opinions, suggestions, etc. are heard. Keep it comin’!
For those not in the know, RealAudio allows us to deliver real-time, streaming audio on demand. No longer do you have to wait, and wait for your sounds to download! With RealAudio, just click, and listen within seconds!
Listening To RealAudio
In order for you to listen to RealAudio sound files, you will need the RealAudio Player. Please visit this page, and follow the simple instructions on downloading the RealAudio Player software. Then, when you are finished, come back here, and listen to our brief introduction to RealAudio @ Hiero Online, in real-time!
If you already have the RealAudio Player installed on your computer, go ahead and click below for a taste of things to come!
Thanx for all your feedback, 1nce again! Enjoy, and let us know how you like this new feature!
You Will Need AT LEAST a 28.8 Modem Connection
For The Following RealAudio Sound Clip To Work!
Last weekend I dumped over 131 gigs of DV video tapes of all kinds of stuff from 12+ years ago.
Among the tapes was some live footage of the Hieroglyphics crew performing at The Glass House in Pomona, California on March 16th, 2000.
Youtube’s upload limits at the time of this writing forced me to split the footage in two. I’ve embedded both parts below. Enjoy!
01:00 – Make Your Mind Up – A-Plus
02:30 – Oakland Blackouts – Opio & Del
05:00 – After Dark – Pep Love
07:30 – I Gotta (Get Down) – Casual
11:30 – That’s When Ya Lost – Souls of Mischief
14:50 – Catch a Bad One – Del
17:23 – Crooked Angles – Pep Love
21:13 – See Delight – Opio & Pep Love
24:05 – I Didn’t Mean To – Casual