Hiero Day 2014 -- happening Monday, September 1st in Oakland in the blocks surrounding 95 Linden Street (Linden Street Brewery) -- may only be in its third year, but this ambitious, annual, refreshingly non-mainstream, all-ages East Bay hip-hop festival has quickly become the best Bay Area hip-hop festival of the year. Hiero Day features the extended Hieroglyphics hip-hop collective along with a slew of equally talented hip-hop friends (mostly Bay and Cali hip-hop acts) performing on three different stages throughout the day. I attended last year's Hiero Day and was so impressed with how fun and how peaceful this musically rich event was!
Hiero Day is free and all-ages with a truly indie feeling, and no nasty corporate overtones. In fact it is more like an expanded modern day continuation of the Living Legends' Unsigned & Hella Broke jams back in the day. Fittingly, Mystik Journeymen are among those on the bill at Hiero Day 2014 - a day that will attract hip-hop appreciative fans in the thousands to enjoy great music, a variety of tasty food trucks, tables selling cool hip-hop clothing, a skate contest, and (for vinyl fiends and crate diggers) the beat swap meet.
1) A$AP Rocky Long.Live. A$AP (RCA)
2) Fashawn Champagne & Styrofoam Cups (Fat Beats/Dirty Science)
3) Dead Prez Information Age (Varese Sarabande)
4) Moe Pope & Rain Let The Right Ones In (Brick Records)
5) Oh No Disrupted Ads (Cash Rock Entertainment)
1) Exile Am/Fm (Traffic)
2) Bun B Trill O.G. (Rap A Lot)
3) Slum Village Villa Manifesto (E1 Entertainment)
4) Trek Life Everything Changed Nothing (Mello Music)
5) Messy Marv Thizz City (SMC)
In continuing the theme of his wonderful solo release from last year, Radio, Exile delivers this week's number one album at Amoeba, the brand new AM/FM, which is actually culled from that 2009 release. By reworking and remixing elements of Radio the talented Los Angeles producer born Aleksander Manfredi, who many came to know as one half of the emcee/producer duo of Blu & Exile, has crafted a whole new twenty one track album. In fact some of the tracks on AM/FM sound completely new with nary a trace of the earlier album's sound to them. And while Radio was more of an instrumental album (with the occasional vocal sample off the radio) showcasing Exile's studio chops with little other distraction, AM/FM shines more light on the mic wreckers. These include many of his compadres such as Blu (check out a track featuring Blu, "Love Line," below), Alchemist, The Grouch & Eligh, Evidence, and Aloe Blacc (with whom he formed his first group, Emanon). Standout tracks include the the Shafiq Husayn remix of "It's Coming Down," "Mega Mix" featuring Fashawn, Big Tone, and ADaD, and the DJ Day remix of "In Love." In addition to AM/FM, I would recommend tracking down both Radio and Exile's 2006 album Dirty Science.