The Hiero complex is damn near a hip-hop
museum. They have posters and memorabilia from ’93 onward on the walls, from
albums, singles, tours. Hiero has had a few headquarters over the years, they
were in West
Oakland on Magnolia Street for a while, but a couple years back,
they bought a building in East Oakland.
That’s real smart, they gave back to the community. None of them dudes is
extra-flashy. The Hiero story is that they were signed to majors back in the
day, but they owned their own masters, so eventually they got dropped. They’ve
been fully independent since the late '90s. When it comes to branding, the Hiero logo is up there with the most iconic rap designs. You know that symbol,
even if you never bought a Del album or a Souls of Mischief album.
The Complex has offices for each Hiero
member, a lot of them have personal studios so they can just work on projects.
They’re always recording and always collaborating with each other so it’s a lot
going on. Tajai runs Clear Label out of there too, they fuck with a lot of Oakland rappers, turfed-out dudes like Beeda
Weeda, Shady Nate, and D-Lo who wouldn’t really be a good fit on Hieroglyphics
Imperium. They also do merchandising down there, they have screen presses for
hoodies and t-shirts. It’s a real intelligent operation. The building has a
mural on the side that was painted by the Youth UpRising kids, Pep Love was
telling me before they painted it, they went around to folks in the
neighborhood and asked them what they wanted. So it has a lot of positive,
conscious messages on it. [Photos 3, 4 via yameenmusic.com]
Hieroglyphics - "Don't Hate the Player, Hate the Game"