Special “technology and innovation” recognition from the city of Oakland and its mayor
Originally published on:
August 27, 2013
Written by Jeremy C. Owens
[Excerpts follow. Please see links below to read the full article]
[Hieroglyphics] tapped two Bay Area traditions: independent hustling and technological innovation.
“The thing that really made everybody proud of Hiero from the very beginning was that they always embodied the best that The Bay has to represent to the world,” said Jeff Chang, who moved from founding a contemporary indie label that turned into Quannum Projects to writing “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation.”
In 1995, Hieroglyphics established its Web presence, years before Napster and iPods would lead to a digital revolution in the music industry. The move nurtured an international audience, as Hieroglyphics sold merchandise featuring its now-iconic logo and tapes of unreleased material “to places like Iran and Afghanistan,” says Tajai, who helped develop the original site while studying at Stanford.
“We were certainly one of the first groups that kind of maximized the Internet presence. I won’t say we were the first, cause I don’t know that, but we probably were one of the first hip-hop groups, if not the first hip-hop group,” Domino says.
Early Web and merchandising success spurred Hieroglyphics to form an independent label, Hieroglyphics Imperium, in 1997. It has remained an international force in the indie hip-hop world for more than 15 years, touring nonstop to roaring crowds.
“Oakland is kind of traditionally a festive city, and all of that stuff got shut down in the mid-90s for a long time,” Pep Love notes.
Prompted by one of its legions of online fans, Hieroglyphics put decades of entrepreneurial experience into a replacement: Hiero Day.
Girded by their success, [Hiero] members say they want to build the [music] festival into an annual community event, and Mayor Jean Quan has officially named Sept. 3 “Hiero Day” in the city of Oakland, with a proclamation that deems Hieroglyphics “a steadfast cultural and musical force, a pioneering entity in technology and innovation and shining example of local, homegrown business with worldwide appeal and recognition.”
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Excerpts reproduced on Hieroglyphics.org for educational purposes.