HieroDay 2017: Oakland ’til Infinity

What began in 2012 as a 20th anniversary celebration of one of the most timeless recordings in Hip Hop by one of the most continuously creative crews in music, HieroDay has grown into a remarkable ear feast of melodic grooves and pulsating beats on three distinct stages. Now in its sixth year HieroDay stands as one of the highly anticipated festivals of each year, having grown from a block party into a comprehensive multi-generational jamboree that gives honor to some of Hip Hop’s elders while also acknowledging the current day’s array of emcees, djs and musicians.  Keeping with yearly HieroDay tradition, the festival’s founders and namesake Hieroglyphics Crew headlined the day long event which was also celebrating its new location on 18th and Poplar Streets behind American Steel Studios in West Oakland among a few warehouses and iron structures.

There were several highlights that included a lineup representative of some of the diverse range and expressions of the Hip Hop and music scenes of Oakland and the Bay Area, along with some invigorating performances from a few out of town guests. JAX, the Oakland birthed Haitian – American group of siblings ranging in age from pre-teen to late teen, began the day with their stirring blend of elements of R&B, Reggae, Pop and Rap served with skilled musicianship and thought provoking lyrics. DSC_1899

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Los Angeles based Boston transplant Lyric Jones made her HieroDay debut accompanied by Bay Area Dj True Justice for a brilliant display of skillful wordplay paired with cleverly crafted grooves that inspired head nods and body movement. With a salute to her Oakland music family she invited emcees Ryan Nicole and Kev Choice to join her for a bit of fun…

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Vocalist Rayna Jay and guitarist JHawk delighted the audience with soulful tales of life, love and liberation featuring music from her latest EP, MORNING AFTER…

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Hiero member and solo artist Del The Funky Homosapien displayed the verbal skills that that he’s renowned for. With an energetic set that featured a collaboration with dj – producer Amp Live, Del combined wit and raw honesty to form funky tales that ignited the audience…

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Revolutionaries Dead Prez, legendary Yoyo with Pam The Funkstress and prolific producer DJ Quik were received by an enthusiastic audience that was also hype for Golden Age Society, Rass Kass and a stellar list of other well known and lesser knowns. Houston Trill master Bun B paid tribute to his hometown which was being devastated by Hurricane Harvey, and also paid honor to his UGK partner in rhyme, the late Pimp C…

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Vibrant songstress and charter Hiero member Goapele, aided by DJ DSharp, enchanted the audience with her golden voice and songs touching on matters of the heart and matters of social and world affairs. At one point she welcomed Adrian Marcel to join her on a duet before giving the young singer the spotlight on one of his own songs…

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As with each HireoDay festival the day ended with a rousing performance by the entire Hiero Crew including Del, Casual, Pep Love, Toure and the individual and collective members of Souls of Mischief. Pulling from a virtual goodie bag of hits and fan favorites the crew wove a communal tapestry of sonic excellence that culminated with the timeless anthem “’93 Til Infinity”.  The supportive unity of their collective performance reflects the unity of their long lasting friendships and endeavors as entrepreneurs who remain active and committed to their community.  As much as HieroDay is a celebration of Hip Hop it’s equally, if not more so, a celebration of Oakland where ’93 til infinity is more than an anthem that inspired a festival, but also a statement of commitment.

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