The folks at Oakland's Hieroglyphics hip-hop collective have announced the anticipated lineup for this year's Hiero Day that does not disappoint and happens on Monday, September 7th at 3rd and Chestnut Streets in Oakland. In addition to headlining act the Hieros, whose membership boasts members such as Souls of Mischief, Del the Funky Homosapien, Casual, and DJ Toure, this year's amazing Hiero Day 2015 lineup will feature 45 diverse acts across three stages that covers various eras and subgenres of hip-hop. This impressive lineup will include Tha Alkaholiks, who arrived on the hip-hop scene the same time as the Hieros; Odd Future's Domo Genesis; Cali Agents (Rasco and Planet Asia); Stones Throw founder DJ/producer Peanut Butter Wolf; Boots Riley's legendary Oakland political hip-hop soldiers The Coup; Freestyle Fellowship's super-gifted emcee Aceyalone; legendary Oakland rap duo the Luniz; Raashan Ahmad's group formerly known as The Mission - Crown City Rockers; MC Eiht's legendary '90s SoCal rap group Compton's Most Wanted; hometown hip-hop heroes Foreign Legion; Rhymesayers' female emcee talent Psalm One (who changed her name for a minute in recent years); Zion I, Phat Kat & Guilty Simpson; Equipto & Otayo Dubb; HBK members Kool John, P-Lo, and Jay Ant in separate sets; and hyphy era stars The Team.
From when they first formed in the East Bay in the late 1980s, the funk/rap/hip-hop ensemble Digital Underground (DU) was as much a collective of creative-minded artists as simply a singular rap group. As such, these young P-Funk disciples tended to have an ever-rotating stable of members and associated artists. Digital Underground, whose consistent core members over their two-decade timeline were Shock G (aka Humpty Hump, aka M.C. Blowfish) and Money B, spawned several spinoff acts in their prime years (circa '88 - '93) that included most notably a dancer and roadie turned actor and rap superstar Tupac Shakur or 2Pac, Raw Fusion (DJ Fuze and Money B), Gold Money (who were also signed to Tommy Boy for a minute, but long enough to do the cool money-themed promo items pictured below), Saafir (f/k/a The Saucy Nomad), female emcee/singer Mystic (who was also down with Conscious Daughters), and Pee Wee. Pee Wee, who was part of the aforementioned Gold Money along with Bigg Money Odis, would go on to produce for 2Pac as well as being a member of another Bay Area collective, Too $hort's extended Dangerous Crew rap family.
1) Various Artists Cell Block Compilation (Cell Block/Priority)
2) Rappin' 4-Tay Aint No Playa (Rag Top/Chrysalis)
3) Conscious Daughters Gamers (Priority)
4) 2Pac All Eyez On Me (Death Row)
5) IMP Ill Mannered Playas (In-A-Minute)
6) Mac Mall Get Right (Relativity)
7) Peanut Butter Wolf Step On Our Egos (South Paw)
8) Too $hort Gettin' It 12" (Jive)
9) N.O.A. forilla (120)
10) The Delinquents Smooth Getaway (Dank Or Die)
11) Suga T Paper Chasin' (Sick Wid It/Jive)
12) Twisted Mind Kids Twisted Mind State (8-song demo - No Exit)
13) Lateef The Wreckoning/Latyrx (Solesides)
14) MadFace Black Attracts Heat (Corn Field)
15) Lil Gangsta P meet the lil gangsta (Erin)
16) V/A The Dangerous Crew (Dangerous/Jive)
17) Richie Rich Half Thang (41510/Shot)
18) Milkman feat Da Goonz Reminisce (Major Music)
19) Hobo Junction E.P. (South Paw)
20) Sacred Hoop demo tape (Miasmatic)
Since I (finally) got a new scanner, I am now able to go back into my Bay Area Hip-Hop Archives and start scanning and posting all of these wonderful slices of music history from the last 20+ years in Yay Area rap. Ranging from 1984 to 1996, these are some show fliers plus a ticket stub (above) which is from the first time I went to check out the Egyptian Lover and Uncle Jamm's Army * -- the LA turntable army (who were really hot at the time - especially the Egyptian Lover, whose single "Egypt Egypt"/"What is A DJ If He Can't Scratch" ruled at the time) -- when they came north to the Bay Area to do a show at the cavernous Richmond Auditorium. Rap shows, especially large scale ones, were still a relatively new phenomenon in the Bay Area in '84. It would still be a couple of years before the Fresh Fest (Whodini, Kuritis Blow, Fat Boys, etc) happened and rolled through Oakland (and that was a totally exciting new experience, to check out a large scale hip-hop festival with all of these major acts in the one place!). But in the few years before '84 I only remember going to the very, very occasional rap show, such as Grand Master Flash & Furious Five at the Berkeley Square, which was in '82 I believe, But I do clearly remember some very vocally disgruntled club goers at the long defunct University Ave venue complaining that they had forked over their money but there was no band -- just a DJ and bunch of rappers on mics (twas early days for sure).
Anyway Uncle Jamm's Army would return to the East Bay within a month that summer of '84 when they performed with Run DMC at the Oakland Convention Center (see flyer below and note its very basic layout -- this was in the pre-photoshop days). Also note the low ticket price of only $6.50 for each show. The other Bay Area rap concert fliers below include one or two that actually never happened-- like the 1994 Music People / In-A-Minute showcase, scheduled during the annual music convention that always attracted a lot of hip-hop acts from all over the country, the Gavin Seminar in San Francisco. That show fell through at the last minute due to the club not being able to get insurance (a common problem with rap shows then and now). And with some of these shows, the venue is long gone, such as the Omni ("the Bay Area's largest showcase nightclub" on Shattuck at 48th near Telegraph) in North Oakland where Young MC headlined in September 1989 with Bay Area artists Paris, APG Crew, Captial Tax, and Step G with MC Sirgeo all opening for him. Another time within about a year of that show, Too $hort headlined at the Omni -- doing his typical no-frills, straight up rap concert. (This was a time when another Oakland rapper, MC Hammer's stage shows were huge choreographed events -- Too $hort was the proud antitheses of that.)
When I ran into aspiring young Bay Area rap star Yung Nittlz at the recent Showtime @ the Apollo Amateur NIght tryouts at the Oakland Convention Center, he was handing out his self-designed promo item -- an oversized five dollar bill with his image and contact info. What really impressed me is that Yung Nittlz, as his name implies, is young. Very young -- 13 years of age, and already the freshman at Berkeley High School has taught himself to make beats, and has written and recorded two albums worth of music, set up his MySpace, and found time to perfect his computer design skills by designing things such as his Five Dolla Promo item to promote his song "Money In The Air" that he printed out (two-sided) and cut to size at his local Copy Central. (Note: for my full report on the Showtime at the Apollo Oakland tryouts -- previewed in earlier AMOEBLOG -- check out this week's San Francisco Bay Guardian).
When I saw his cool promo item I remembered that the Luniz -- or rather their label Noo Trybe, a division of Virgin -- created a similar promo item upon the release of the Oakland duo's debut album Operation Stackola (which reached stores on July 4, 1995) and its huge hit single "I Got Five On It." But that was a long time ago, when 13 year old Yung Nittlz was a baby -- only age one. It was a time when labels were still making money (as in profits, not promo funny-money), especially rap labels or divisions, and were often extremely creative and experimental in their promo items. Many others (especially Yay Area rappers) have used paper money as promotional material, including the Conscious Daughters for their comeback album (pictured right).