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Hieroglyphics Colorado Tour, 1997

Jacob Rosenberg chronicles a three-city tour with the Hiero Crew, capturing performances, hijinks, and more in words and photographs.

In December of 1997, director, photographer, and Hieroglyphics Dot Com contributor Jacob Rosenberg toured across the state of Colorado with the Hiero Crew as they performed across three cities. “Saucee Jake” captured a wealth of photographs and wrote an excellent travelogue, which became one of our earliest collaborations on the Hiero site.

The original feature, which debuted on Hieroglyphics Dot Com in 1997, is very much a product of its time (complete with Shockwave Flash integration). Notably, it was designed for screens 800 x 600 pixels wide and does not respond nor display well on modern mobile devices. The first page, including the text, is entirely made up of images, and the navigation progression is admittedly not quite intuitive in retrospect.

Additionally, the images are of low resolution by modern standards, and the entire feature is buried in the annals of the old Hiero archives. It is for these reasons that I was eager to update the feature in a modern context and present it here on Hieroglyphics.org.

Hieroglyphics Colorado tour feature as it appeared on Hieroglyphics.com in 1997
Hieroglyphics Colorado tour feature as it appeared on Hieroglyphics.com in 1997

Words & pictures: Jacob Rosenberg
Design & layout: SupremeEx (aka “Stinke”)
12/20/97 – 12/24/97

Introduction

All things considered, I have been busy working with Hiero, helping with any photos necessary for the new [3rd Eye Vision] album. When Domino proposed I join the crew to shoot photos and cover their Colorado tour, I instantly agreed. It became a good opportunity to get away and another opportunity to catch up on my Hiero show archive, which has been slacking due to my east coast residence during the school year.

The tour was to consist of 3 shows: the first in Aspen on December 20th, the second in Vail on the 21st, and the third in Breckenridge on the 22nd. We would leave December 19th in the morning and drive home on the 23rd. All of these events happened as planned, just maybe not as I expected. It was a fun and tiresome trio.

I drove to the Hiero Office in Oakland, arriving at 8 AM. I was met by Domino, Tajai, and Publicist Frank Sosa (not to be confused with SOSA of Scarface fame). Tajai had yet to sleep, working in the studio with Plea on “The Last One/Go the Length” remix. We got the rental cars for the airport, packed up, and after much running around and a bit of mayhem, we were on the road just in time for rush hour traffic at 5 PM. We drove the I-80 freeway out of California through the Sierra’s, then Nevada, and then we took the 15 to the 70 in Utah to Colorado.

On the road

The caravan consisted of Tajai, A-Plus, Del, Casual, Phesto, Pep Love, Opio, Domino, Frank, Myself, and ShooD (he was the guy shaking his head in the “That’s When ya Lost” video). Jay Biz missed out at the last minute.

The first leg of the tour, I was in the van with Tajai (driver), Opio, and Del. We listened to Opio’s new beats and a few new songs, which all sounded great to me (the biased Hiero fan). We got through the Sierra’s, bumped the Beatles, more Hiero, some Luniz, etc. I switched and drove for Tajai for a while. At about 3:30 AM, Opio took over for me, and we drove another stretch to the Utah Border. I drove from the Colorado-Utah border, and we arrived in Aspen, Colorado as planned around 2 PM.

Domino swiftly locked the keys in one of the vans, and Del just as quickly set up his Sega Saturn video game console for continuous gameplay. Opio and Tajai checked out the local snowboard shop, and everyone else sort of bummed around, got food, etc. At 6 PM, Domino, Tajai, and myself went to the venue for a sound-check. I took light readings for shooting film, and Dom and Tajai set up for the show. Unfortunately, this was the only show I got on audio tape, but I also set up a tape to record from the booth. With everything ready for the show, we went and got some food, then strolled back to the hotel. I loaded my cameras while Domino napped, and Tajai refined his wardrobe. Notably, Del hadn’t stopped playing video games.

Aspen

We arrived at the show at 11:30 PM; Hiero would be on by 12:15. The Kingdom and Know Question played all three shows as well; Hiero closed all the nights. The club was pretty packed, but mostly with night goers not all acquainted with Hiero. There were also very loyal fans in the front who sang choruses and moved to the music. It was a good show, nothing spectacular but solid. A lot of new songs, good freestyles, and some classics as well. The audience responded well and people seemed to genuinely enjoy the show.

At the after party (nudge-nudge) Del and I played Psychic Warrior and then I crashed out. Most everyone was up late herbing out. Unfortunately there was no liquor stores open past 1:30 AM and the liquor curfew blew so that was that.

Del and I decided to plan ahead for the next show…

Enter DRIGGIDY!

We all woke up at a reasonable hour and had some food. Del and I promptly visited the liquor store and bought some genuine Heineken from the store (red label and all). We kept it on the down-low, jumped in the van and we were off to Vail, some two hours away.

Vail

I drove with Domino, A-Plus, and Del. We arrived at a fairly large condo just outside of Vail. The location was cool. We all relaxed, and Domino and Plea did the sound check. Meanwhile, Me, Casual, Pep, Shoo, and Phes hopped in the van and drove around the surrounding mountains to take some photos. We drove for quite a while and found a nice spot for sunset. Then we drove up a bit further, and Pep did his best Prince Paul impersonation, going shirtless in the snow. Casual is very funny.

By the time we got back, everyone was chillin’ and waiting for dinner. Del went to the store and bought some fresh lamb meat, while Op and I ordered a pizza from Domino’s. A local magazine came by to interview the crew, and Del, the meister chef, caught the kitchen on fire. Incredibly, his lamb burgers were spared, and the only damage was the mass amount of smoke in the air. Oddly enough, no fire alarm went off.

Del served up his burgers as we took sips from our hidden beers. Half the crew left early for the venue, and the rest of us arrived around midnight. We settled in and got ready for the show.

The Show

The place was pretty packed as Kingdom finished up their set. A bit of preheating took place backstage, and the show was ready to kick off. I was personally excited because of the clear location I could shoot film and take photos from.

Hiero came out and ripped it, delivering the best show of the trip. The floor of the club was like a trampoline, so the entire club would shake when people jumped to the music. The turntable table was hung from the ceiling, if that gives you any idea.

On the freestyle tip, Pep ripped it!!! The rest of the crew was tight too, even ShooD got his flow on. Domino rushed the crowd and Plea took over playing at least 3 instrumental tracks while the crew kept flowing.

The Afterparty

The show ran late, and people came back to the condo to hang out…enter DRIGGIDY. Now, Del and myself acknowledged the lack of alcohol at the spot, decided to take home a few more beers from the venue to add to our secret stash, which would become the topic of late-night whoridin’.

We got back to the condo, and I finally got a little loose. Del was already loose, and the conversation ranged from release dates of albums (first Black Sheep, second De La, etc.) to the usual video game re. The drinks kept flowing, and a few lonely MC’s asked for a dib in the stash since they were empty-handed. I gave Pep and Plea both a beer and settled at that. If we were to keep on Driggidy, we had to protect our beers.

Casual slept in the master bedroom while the rest of the crew joined another after-party in Vail. Del and I played Quake on the Saturn and listened to Paul’s Boutique. I advocated that he do a song with the Beasties. He agreed and went on to tell stories of his early and awakening encounters with the Beastie Boys.

Time passed, and people began to get back from the other after-party accompanied by some females. A girl who fashioned nipple rings was a minor topic of conversation, but even more exciting were the adventures of A-Plea, Whoorider extraordinaire.

Adventures in Whooridin’

Plea was on another level, beyond Driggidy, running around the condo, getting loose. Del and I were low on beer, then quickly we were out. “How did this happen?” Del wondered, not quite using those words. Del quickly isolated the culprit, and thus began a drunken match of “who can make the least sense and still keep an argument” between Del and Plea. Neither won, but it was one of the most amusing scenes I have endured in a while.

During this match, Opio slipped into Del’s single bed and I into mine. When Del noticed Opio asleep in his bed, “Giggidy! You are in on it too!” he said to Opio, thinking that Op was in cahoots with Plea.

I passed out, Pep’s feet ended up in my face, and Del ended up curling into a ball on the single bed with Op. Plea ended up face down looking dead halfway in the doorway of the room. He didn’t move for quite some time…exit Driggidy.

Breckenridge

We drove to Breckenridge and arrived in time to watch Monday Night Football at the bar venue in which Hiero played. The food was good (as free food always is) and everyone was kicking back hanging out. Phes and Shoo played pool, Tajai, Opio, and Sosa arrived off the mountain and we all ganged together to go back to hotel.

Enter Last Stop Motel. The rooms looked straight out of Bonanza and it was freezing. Tajai was the first and only to throw on some trunks and jump in the Jacuzzi (crazy). Again some people left early for the venue and the rest of us arrived later. Domino and Opio seemed to be a bit blessed on this evening as the recipients of adoring female looks.

The Show

The show was good, not like Vail, but better than Aspen. The crowd was pretty hyped and once again Pep Love ripped it on the freestyle. Not quite as much drinking as the night before, but the show rounded out and everyone seemed happy, even the audience was much more generous in passing the mook to the crew while on stage.

After Party at the Last Stop Motel

Maybe half of Hiero wanted to leave to go home after the show, the rest were content with sleeping. The problem was, however, that in order to be back at a reasonable time before Christmas Eve, we would have to wake up at 5 AM anyway.

That’s the template. Ladies and Gentlemen were in the Last Stop Motel ’til the late hours, certain crew members would enjoy company, others were driggidy. Amidst the tension of such a cold night and lack of potential skrimp, poor behavior on our guests’ behalf ignited.

Returning home

The party was over, and it was time to go home. I was half asleep, face down when someone said it was time to go. Everyone decided to just cut around 3:45 AM, so the vans were being packed, and we were leaving. I jumped in the front seat of one of the vans. Del, Plea, and Opio were in the back while Domino drove. I told Domino to let me sleep as long as I could, then wake me when he needed me to take over.

After bumpin’ — and I mean bumpin’ — some Public Enemy, Funkadelic, and other classics from Domino’s abundant archive, I was awoken not by music but by the manager himself. It was my turn to drive. It was around 7 AM, and everyone slept for a few hours. Then we got into the mountain canyons of Colorado. I felt strongly about pulling over and taking pictures. After 15 minutes of painful wake-ups, the crew stood for their photos.

We got back in the car, drove some 15 more minutes, and pulled over again to another spot. I found out Casual is afraid of heights, and Tajai is really crazy. After this stop, Del joined me up front, and we bumped De La Soul’s third and fourth albums, both sounding even better this time around. We listened to O.C.’s Jewelz and some other stuff I don’t remember. Everyone dozed on and off for a while, but I kept driving. We got out of Colorado around 9:30 AM and entered Southern Utah.

Utah

I was driving the lead van, Tajai and Sosa were in the second car, and Phesto was driving the third car with Casual, Pep, and Shoo inside. And then the Utah Po-Po entered the picture.

They some zarks

Driving up the 15 Freeway north towards Salt Lake City, I was the first to pass the Sheriff of the Search and Rescue team. Acknowledging that it was the Search and Rescue Sheriff, I slowly moved ahead and passed her. The rest of the pack followed. We were going between 70 and 80 MPH in this particular 75 MPH zone when I spotted a Police car posted in the median of the Highway.

I checked my speed and I was around 68 MPH. I looked in the rearview and everyone was behind me. As we passed the car, I noticed his tail lights go on and the Search and Rescue Sheriff pull up next to him. In about 30 seconds, the cop car was turned around approaching us. In a second, his lights went off and he pulled Tajai over. Phes, being behind Tajai, pulled over behind them. Myself, not being pulled over, slowed to the side of the road further ahead. We sat and watched.

It seemed that the Search and Rescue Sheriff instructed the highway patrolman that we were driving fast and recklessly. Hmmpphhh. The sheriff took Tajai’s license down and approached Phesto’s van. Phes, as the police found out, did not have a license on him. The police decided to search the car, and in the ashtray, they found a piece of a blunt.

The two cars were pulled off of the highway to be searched at the station. Our van went ahead to make sure we were clean all right, then we arrived at the police station to see the other van being searched by what Casual called “A dumb dog.”

Book ’em.

Phesto was arrested for driving on a suspended license and thrown in jail. Tajai and Domino went to “work out” bail. “How much money do you have on you?” they inquired to Tajai. “500 dollars,” he replied. “Bail is set at $405.” How’s that for ironic!

Phes was bailed out, and the incident was not even posted to his record. We all piled into the cars, got some food, and drove the rest of the way home. Snow was falling as we drove through Nevada, which slowed us down even more. But by the time we got a bit outside of Reno, it was clear. Along the way, we had lost Tajai and Sosa, so Casual and Domino got us home the last leg.

At around 3:00 AM, we got back into The Town some 24 hours later. Needless to say, everyone was tired, but we were home. I unpacked my stuff, threw it in my car, and was gone. The rest of the crew dispersed. Cas had a late-night session at his house, and the tour was considered a success.

Fin

Hiero had driven to Colorado and back (2,800 miles all together) in 4 and 3/4 days, played 3 shows, got new exposure, and were home for the holidays. New fans were spawned from all over the country as these resort towns rarely house locals only.

It was a tiresome tour, but it happened, and every night, Hieroglyphics gave a strong show. Some were better than others, but that’s only because I have been lucky enough to see enough to make that call.

The fans in Colorado responded great, and 3rd Eye Vision’s release date keeps getting closer. Tune in.