Hiero Freestyles: The RealAudio Collection (1993-1999)

An ancient Internet audio format is unlocked as we convert our archive of ’90s Hiero freestyles to MP3.

Modem sound

From the early 1990’s, the Hieros were well known for their battle raps and competitive off-the-dome lyrics. Fans recorded and traded cassette tapes of their radio appearances and bootlegged concert performances. Hieroglyphics freestyles even attained mythological status in the mid-1990’s when word spread about a rumored battle between affiliated Oakland crew The Hobo Junction, igniting debates on the internet about its authenticity. Did it really happen or was it just a legend?

At, we started receiving cassette tape donations from the community as soon as we went online in 1995. Over time, we built up a respectable collection of Hieroglyhics freestyles which we made available for free streaming in RealAudio. This technology was a breakthrough as it encoded sound at a low bitrate, making it possible to play back instantly rather than slowly download, even over the dial-up modems of the era.

RealAudio as an audio format was eventually replaced by MP3, which gained widespread adoption in the early aughts as broadband internet became increasingly prevalent, rendering the respectively slow 56k modems of yesteryear obsolete.

Real player

Today, playing RealAudio-encoded files on modern hardware is possible but not straightforward. For instance, you can’t just open a .ram or .rm file on your phone as your browser won’t support the native playback. While “do-it-all” media programs such as VLC can be a good option, they may not be the most convenient solution (your mileage may vary).

That’s why we have done the heavy lifting for you! 💪

The original RealAudio freestyle collection from has been converted to MP3 and is now available for streaming or downloading on modern browsers.

The Freestyles (1993-1999)


Stretch & Bobbito, Hot 97, NY (March 1997)

This is the show Casual debuted his new song, “Turkey & Dressing” to an astonished Hot 97 listening audience. The song would become one of the most requested on the radio show for weeks in 1997.

WCHC 88.1FM, Worcester, Massachusetts (April 1997)

From the DJ Genesis show, “True School Universal.”

Power 106, Los Angeles (August 1999)

Casual and Domino stopped by Los Angeles’ Power 106 and dropped a few flows. Submitted by M3ZY.


“Boston Freestyle” – Del & Tajai (Spring 1997)

Del and Tajai stop by a local college radio station in Boston and rip it. If anyone has a station identification, please contact us. Thanks to Jake for the submission.

Wake Up Show – Del, Pep Love & Domino (May 1999)

Del rhymes about Dreamcast and Pokemon. News about “Both Sides of the Brain” is also shared, along with discussion of an upcoming Prose album. Thanks to Summer for the submission.

KMEL (September 26th 1997)

Before the release of “3rd Eye Vision,” discussions abounded. Thanks to Swanson for sending in the recording.

WCHC 88.1FM, Worcester, Massachusetts (April 1997)

From the DJ Genesis show, “True School Universal.”

“How Wed Do,” KVRX 91.7 KOOP Radio, Austin TX – Opio, Pep Love & Del the Funky Homosapien (1994)

This tape showed up one day with not much information. It’s sounding like somewhere between 1994-1995? Thanks to Shawn for the correction.

KZSU Stanford – Pep Love, Casual, Opio, & Domino (1997)

Submitted by Summer Swanson.

Live At TRAMPS, NYC (April 13th, 1998)

Thanks to Cheri and SonicNet for their help with the recording and broadcast of this original RealAudio stream.

Souls of Mischief

Stretch & Bobbito, 89.9 WKCR, NY (1993)

Submitted by Caleb.


WCHC 88.1FM, Worcester, Massachusetts (April 1997)

From the DJ Genesis show, “True School Universal.”