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Hiero Day 2017

Grown from Oakland

I talked about 2017’s Hiero Day with my manager at work, who use to be on Hieroglyphics’s label. We talked festival logistics, from pricing to setting up stages, and what makes a festival last. The one thing Hiero Day has above any other festival is its community.

Not many rap groups get a day commemorated to them by their city, and in turn make it a day of giving local musicians & artists a platform to show off their work. It’s a festival that’s grown from the area rather than copied and planted into the scene like many other festivals.

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Hiero Day 2015

Annual festival in Oakland

Hieroglyphics is a hip hop group out of Northern California. Each year they celebrate new hip hop talent with their own festival in Oakland on Labor Day. I got the chance to cover their show this year and even though there were over a dozen quality performers to see on each stage, I was there for one.

It took me over three hours to get to Hiero Day, public transit wasn’t doing so well. When I got there the temp had to be hitting on 90 and everyone was looking for shade to sit in. But I had to find Anderson .Paak. The main reason I was there.

I caught him right before his performance on the Third Eye stage. I ran up to him like a giddy fool and blathered about my love for his music. When I realized how foolish I was sounding, his manager assured me that they all felt the same way too. We talked a bit longer about other LA emcees, I actually told him the only other one that could compete with him was Doja Cat. He got a kick out of it.

His performance on stage had just as much character as his music, along with the short time I talked to him. The day was a highlight I’ll be holding on to at least until next Labor Day.

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Music that Got Me Blogging About Music (Part 4)

The San Francisco Bay Arrreeeeeaaa

In the music that got me blogging about music series, we’ve gone from the Midwest all the way to Japan and all along the West Coast. Now, we focus on one of the most influential hip-hop areas around, The Bay Area.

As small as The Bay Area is compared to any other area I’ve covered, it’s definitely rich with the best hip-hop around. I could’ve made a top 25 bay area groups, but that would’ve been a little much. This top 5 (or so), however, is some of my favorite hip-hop groups of all time. There’s no doubt that the Bay Area is the heart of my hip-hop listening.

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[audio:Lady-Dont-Tek-No.mp3,If-I-May.mp3|titles=Lady Don’t Tek No,If I May]

Blazing Arrow by Blackalicious

Phonetical finesse, funk filled with status.

I haven’t heard anything that breakthrough in hip-hop lately, so I thought I’d dig through my collection and find something noteworthy. Blackalicious, along with the rest of the Quannum crew, were a main reason for my first interests in hip-hop. Their West Coast, laid-back vibes made me rethink what hip-hop was all about. Nia may have had some killer tracks, but Blazing Arrow created a vibe that marked the Blackalicious sound.

Blazing Arrow may not be the most acclaimed album of its time, but it had a strong following and pushed hip-hop forward across The Bay. Gift of Gab put out some cunningly crafted rhymes, but without the backup of Chief Xcels beats, his words wouldn’t have flowed so freely. I put up some of the best from the album, but its entirety is well worth a listen.

If you’ve got anything fresh that reminds you of these two, post it up in the comments below.

On a side note, in case some of you’ve notice my site has been down for a couple of days. I’ve resolved the issue with my host and hopefully this shit doesn’t happen again. It was a pain in the ass, and I’m hopin’ for some smooth sailin’, at least for a while.

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[audio:MakeYouFeelThatWay.mp3,4000Miles.mp3,BrainWashers.mp3|titles=Make You Feel That Way,4000 Miles,Brain Washers]

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If I May by Blackalicious

"Here we go again."

Banner for Nia

Blackalicious consists of an MC, Gift of Gab, who’s best known for abstract & intellectual lyrics. Accompanied by Chief Xcel, DJ for the group who does a great job blending Gift of Gab’s groove stricken voice into his own funkified & hypnotic beats.

If I May is off Blackalicious’s first album, Nia. The song has, like usual, outstanding & rich instrumentals by Chief Xcel. Gift of Gab unfolds his unique talents, as well, but where this song differs is from the two featured acts: Lateef the Truth Speaker & Erinn Anova.

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[audio:IfIMay.mp3|titles=If I May]

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