Originally published on:
November 12, 2021
Written by John Morrison
[Excerpts follow for educational purposes. Please see links below to read the full article]
Oakland-based rap collective Hieroglyphics first burst onto the scene in the early ‘90s. In those years, anything released by its members—Del the Funky Homosapien, Casual, Pep Love, Domino, Extra Prolific, Mike G, Jay-Biz, Toure, and the members of Souls Of Mischief—would automatically grab my attention. I played their tapes incessantly and hung their posters on my bedroom wall. Logging onto Hieroglyphics.com, I found everything that I was looking for; photos, interviews with the crew, and links to buy T-shirts and mixtapes packed with rare and unreleased Hieroglyphics gems. Quickly, I realized that despite the Hiero crew being based in California there was a local connection behind the site. In August 1995, Binyameen “StinkE” Friedberg, a 15-year-old musician, web developer, and Hiero fan from Philadelphia, launched a site called “tHa thReshHold.” In a piece for his blog (yameenmusic.com) celebrating 20 years of Hieroglyphics.com, Friedberg explains how tHa thReshHold came about:
“By the summer of 1995, I had already begun dabbling in making websites,” he wrote. “The very first was a site for my father’s private investigation business. As part of my junior year high-school curriculum, I had to do community service, and I chose to help troubled kids at an overnight camping retreat for a week in the summer. It was here where I first came up with the idea to do my own website. It was to include all the things I loved: A video game section, a graffiti section, a links page (naturally), and a page dedicated to my favorite hip-hop group, Hieroglyphics.”
Soon, Tajai of Souls Of Mischief would discover the site and was so impressed he approached Friedberg about making his site Hieroglyphics’ official home on the web. “tHa thReshHold” would be rebranded as Hiero Online and tech-savvy Hiero fans from around the world flocked to it. Shortly after Friedberg and Hiero connected, the entire crew was famously dropped from Jive Records, forcing members to build their careers independently without the benefit of major label marketing dollars and backing. While losing a major label deal could turn out to be a death sentence for most groups, Friedberg and Hiero used their online presence to build a close relationship with fans that has helped sustain the group to this day.
[To read the article in full, please click here]
Excerpts reproduced on Hieroglyphics.org for educational purposes.