think Hieroglyphics would be a bit gun-shy about going on another cross-country
tour after the Full Circle jaunt in 2003, the perils and hi-jinks of which were
made available for all to see in the <i>Full Circle Tour Live</i>
DVD. But here they are again, �live and direct� on a thirty-nine-city U.S. tour,
accompanied by Non Phixion, Boom Bap Project, and a recent Hiero Imperium
signing, O.C., of Diggin� in the Crates fame. The point of the tour? To bring
together a diverse set of emcees and deejays from both coasts who share the
same underground values and aesthetics (and, of course, to introduce O.C. to
the Hiero fans).
the theater feels empty � it�s a cavernous space and people are either clinging
to the bar or lounging on the various pieces of lawn furniture � most of the
crowd members are pushed up against the stage in the orchestra pit, and they
are into it. As soon as the Hiero crew takes the stage, the pit erupts. Tonight
we get Del the Funky Homosapien, Pep Love, Souls of Mischief (Opio, A-Plus,
Tajai, Phesto) and Domino and Toure on the decks. Casual was up in the Bay Area
promoting his new record, Casual Presents
Smash Rockwell. It would have been fabulous to hear his new tracks live,
but the Ventura crowd will have to wait until next time.
clearly fucked up tonight, delivering his rhymes with eyes closed and having
trouble dancing while the other emcees are on the mike. He�s trying, though,
and every so often one of the crew will put an arm around him and help him out.
But he never misses a rhyme, not even when his mike failed, as it did a few
times, and the rest of the crew played pass the mike with him. They all know
the words to each other�s rhymes, and watching them rap along with each other
shows just how solid this crew is. The members don�t compete for attention;
they just give each song and each emcee their all. Pep Love is the secret
weapon tonight, though. His flow is tight and he�s holding it all together.
set is full of old classics, such as �Oakland Blackouts� and �After Dark� and Del�s
�If you Must� and �Mr. Dobalina.� The emcees all do tracks off their solo
records, so we get Pep Love dipping into his Ascension album and previewing a track from the yet-to-be-released Reconstruction. Opio hits us with a
track from Triangulation Station. The
solo stuff doesn�t get the crowd going, and the show drags a bit until they hit
the fans with the stuff many of us cut our hip-hop teeth on: The Souls�
signature track, �93 'til Infinity,� still sounds fresh after twelve years. �On
and on and on and on� sums it all up � the fans who have been with Hiero since
the early days know it � and �you never knew, it�s like that y�all
hieroglyphics, yeah� closes the show.
eight men on the stage into what the others are doing is such a positive
experience. Between the love on the stage and the love the crowd exudes, this
is a night that renews my faith in hip-hop and community. At the close of the
show, Opio encourages us to channel all this energy we�ve shared tonight into
something positive: peace.
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