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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

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

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.

Hieroglyphics, Souls of Mischief, Del The Funky Homosapien Pics from 1997

Posted by: Yameen on February 7th, 2010 in Hieroglyphics, Thangs

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I was going through some old discs and found a stash of photographs we used for the Hiero Emporium online store redesign on Hieroglyphics.com back in 1997. Thought I’d share em cause they’re pretty nice.

All photographs are the property of Jacob Rosenberg. Ya’ll know Saucee Jake: He can be heard on Del’s “Pet Peeves” getting hyphy on Del. Jacob was the director of videos such as “You Never Knew”, “If You Must”, and “At The Helm”.

Also, you may be wondering who that dude on the right of many of these pics are. That’s Alex Tse; the producer of the videos I mentioned above and dedicated Hiero fan. Where’s Alex now? Writing the screenplay to The Watchmen movie and the forthcoming live action Ninja Scroll adaptation, of course.

Classic YO! MTV Raps Hiero Videos Hit Youtube

Posted by: Yameen on January 31st, 2010 in Hieroglyphics, Thangs

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Youtube member, YO! EDY K RAPS has posted some classic, live Hiero YO! MTV Raps performances and interviews from the early 90′s online, some of which I havne’t seen personally in over 15 years. Check em out.

But oh — a word of warning: Get em while they’re hot. Vaicom (MTV’s parent company) pulled the Del / Fab 5 Freddy interview down the last time it was on Youtube, so best to check it quick if that’s gonna be the case a second time around. Enjoy.

Del The Funky Homosapien Ft Hieroglyphics – No More Worries (Live) @ Yo MTV Raps 1993

(A-Plus, Casual, Snupe of Extra Prolific, Del)

Souls Of Mischief – 93 ‘Til Infinity (Live) @ Yo MTV Raps 1993

Del The Funky Homosapien – Interview Pt 1 @ Yo MTV Raps 1991

Del The Funky Homosapien – Interview Pt 2 @ Yo MTV Raps 1991

[YO! EDY K RAPS via Access Hip Hop]

Tour Stories: So, You Really Wanna Be in Show Business?

Posted by: Yameen on January 18th, 2010 in Hieroglyphics, Thangs

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Dope article written by Tajai of Souls of Mischief over at XXLMag.com about Hiero’s independent legacy:

Making the transition from being on a major, where everything is paid for—cars, hotels, plane tickets, tour support—to being on…nothing, was shocking and a little bit scary. We came directly out of high school into a major label deal into a world of stardom, so to not have that label security made it seem like everything else would go away.

Check it out over at XXLMag.com »

See also:
Yameen & Tajai Interview, XLR8R Magazine
Yameen & Tajai Releases