Here is a great clip from the 2013 documentary, Til Infinity: The Souls of Mischief written and directed by Shomari Smith.
In the clip Phesto, Tajai and Pep Love discuss meeting up with StinkE to create Hieroglyphics.com in 1995 and their transition from major label recording artists to independent pioneers.
Adisa Banjoko (Hip-Hop Chess Federation): [Hieroglyphics] went independent at a time when a lot of Bay Area people didn’t have the sense to do it.
Phesto: Once we came up with the idea to start the [Hieroglyphics Imperium] label, OK, now what’s next?
Pep Love: Selling anything online was something that was just starting to get right into people’s minds and conscience and it was a cool thing to be like, “We got a website.”
Tajai: There was a kid named Stinke who had already made a fan page; URL was like “this long”…I’m at Stanford, so I’m probably the only dude in the whole crew online. Probably the only brother from Oakland besides the ones that went to [University of California, Berkeley] online at this time [in 1995] — there just wasn’t any Internet. And I emailed him and then it just grew from there.
We had to have something to sell on the site, so we sold t-shirts and all these cassette tapes that we made. We have all the resources: [recording engineer] Matt Kelley says he has the studio, raps are free, they come out of your head. We make all the beats: we make our own music so it’s not like we need to call up The Neptunes or something to get a beat. And [Domino] was just like, “Fuck it, fine dude, we can just do this.”
To watch the full documentary, check out https://www.tilinfinitydoc.com/.