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Long Live Hieroglyphics.Com!

Posted by: Yameen on February 9th, 2014 in Hieroglyphics, Thangs

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Hieroglyphics - 2001

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.

Illustration by Colm Doherty

Time Warp! RealAudio Lands at Hieroglyphics.com (16 Years ago today)

Posted by: Yameen on October 30th, 2012 in Hieroglyphics, Thangs

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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:


(Click here to listen if the embed above does not display)

Original RealAudio .ra file: Download here

Click image to enlarge:

This Page Was Posted On October 30th, 1996

RealAudio Now @ Hiero Online

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!

-Yameen

NOTE:
You Will Need AT LEAST a 28.8 Modem Connection
For The Following RealAudio Sound Clip To Work!

Welcome to Hiero Online & RealAudio

Hieroglyphics – Live (Video), Pomona CA, 2000

Posted by: Yameen on August 3rd, 2012 in Hieroglyphics, Thangs

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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

Tajai’s “Machine Language” Features Two Yameen Songs

Posted by: Yameen on January 18th, 2012 in Hieroglyphics, Thangs

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Machine Language, the latest album from Tajai of Souls of Mischief / Hieroglyphics, features two Yameen songs:

Formless” from Nuntype
Hemingway” also from Nuntype

Additionally, Tajai has included an updated version of “Matter of Moments” with a new beat on Machine Language, a song which was originally cut from the Nuntype album (You can download the original here).

Machine Language is available now from Bandcamp.

You can also pick up the full length Nuntype album featuring me and Tajai in high quality FLAC, 320kbps MP3, or WAV from Bancamp now for the first time ever in such high fidelity digital formats.

For more on Tajai, click here.

Hiero & Dilated Peoples in the Studio (Video), 2001

Posted by: Yameen on October 19th, 2011 in Hieroglyphics, Thangs

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I’ve been going through my MiniDV tapes (remember those?) and found the recording session for what would become “Center of Attention” (off of DJ Babu’s, Duck Season Vol. 1) featuring Souls of Mischief, Pep Love and Dilated Peoples. The video and recording session took place at Evidence’s Los Angeles-based home studio in March of 2001. Higher resolution video link after the Youtube embed below:

» Higher resolution version hosted at Vimeo

Interview with Domino, Hieroglyphics – June 1997 (Presented in Stink-E-Scope)

Posted by: Yameen on September 6th, 2011 in Hieroglyphics, Thangs

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I dug up a pretty amazing audio conversation I had with Domino of Hieroglyphics from way back in June 1997, right as Hiero was knee-deep preparing their debut “family album”, 3rd Eye Vision for mass consumption.

Presented in our all-new Stink-E-Scope theater technology, this is more than just a simple audio interview: Sit back and be amazed by the moving pictures, the talkie high fidelity audio and tons of Hiero history as we go back…WAY back…To 1997:

Errrrr…Put yer breaks on. Scratch that. We just noticed you’re using a mobile device. This chumpy requires a good deal of screen real estate. Something like a laptop or a desktop. So unfortunately, you won’t be able to view it at the moment. But, we promise, if you come back and visit on a non-mobile device, it’ll be worth it.

» Click here to email yourself a link to the page to check it out for later.

Errrrr…Put yer breaks on. Scratch that. We just noticed you’re most likely using a tablet device of some sort. This chumpy requires a good deal of screen real estate. Something like a laptop or a desktop. We’re also not quite convinced (at the time of this writing, at least) most tablet devices can sustain the power that is Stink-E-Scope theater. So unfortunately, you won’t be able to view it at the moment. But, we promise, if you come back and visit on a non-tablet device, it’ll be worth it.

» Click here to email yourself a link to the page to check it out for later.

Click above to begin interview

Errrrr…Put yer breaks on. Scratch that. Actually? I’m sorry to get you all hyped up and let you down, but your browser’s too under-powered for this feature (we ran a test when you landed on the page). Truly sorry. We try to push the envelop of cool ish around here and sometimes that means using the newest tech available.

All is not lost, however! You can upgrade to one of these modern browsers (we prefer Chrome):

- Chrome
- Safari 5+
- Firefox 3.5+
- Opera 10+
- Internet Explorer 9+

Yameen, Souls of Mischief on TechTV – 2000

Posted by: Yameen on August 25th, 2011 in Thangs

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Here’s a blast from the past: Me and Souls of Mischief on TechTV talking bouts TEH INTERNETZ way back in 2000:

I make my debut around the 2:07 minute mark.

Matter of Moments – Unreleased Nuntype Song featuring Tajai (MP3)

Posted by: Yameen on January 21st, 2011 in Thangs

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I was digging in the (virtual) crates and came up on an old CD-R featuring a session demo of a track we cut from the final version of Nuntype, recorded more than likely in 2000.

The song is called, “Matter of Moments” with me on production and Tajai on the mic. It’s never been released until now.

Although “Matter of Moments” was cut from the final playlist, the instrumental did manage to make it onto the retail album under the name “Cacophony Carknock”.

It’s unmixed, so keep that in mind, but it still sounds pretty good. Check it out below:

» Download – MP3 (8M)

And for more on Nuntype, check out: www.nuntype.com.

Hieroglyphics Crew Photos from 1999

Posted by: Yameen on January 21st, 2011 in Hieroglyphics, Thangs

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I’ve been doing some CD-R Spring cleaning and came up on another batch of Hieroglyphics Crew photos that we took for the old Hieroglyphics.com website Emporium store in 1999.

This batch features Domino, Tajai, Casual, Pep Love & JayBiz, Phesto Dee and Del the Funky Homosapien sporting some of the fly fits we had on sale back in the day.

Check the gallery below. Pretty sure the photos were shot by Giant Peach Karen. The lovely Viviane Oh also makes a guest appearance in the group shot. Her work you may be familiar with on album covers such as Casual’s, He Think He Raw, Rasco’s, Time Waits For No Man and Souls of Mischief’s, Trilogy.

Light of Love – Official Anime Video Trailer

Posted by: Yameen on July 2nd, 2010 in Light of Love Anime Video, Never Knows More

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Here it is, ya’ll: the “Light of Love” anime video trailer featuring Yameen & Lady Alma. Mark de Clive-Lowe is on the remix, and we are GO!

Be sure to check for a few cameos in the video including Casual of Hieroglyphics and Bobbito’s Footworks Illadelph record store, formerly located in Philly during the mid-to-late 90′s.

Check out a higher quality version at Vimeo as well: http://vimeo.com/13042021

Animation fans — especially Japanese anime from the likes of Gainax, Studio 4C, and Madhouse — are definitely in for a treat.

Production – Realthing
Executive Producer – Yujiro Funato
Producer / Creative support – Norifumi Fujita
Direction / Animation – Jamie Vickers
CGI Direction – Mayu Hirano
Animation / Color Design – Yuko Ueno

» Download the song from iTunes

» Download the song from Amazon.com MP3