Hieroglyphics performed on February 2 on Upper Sproul.
Hip hop at its finest. I believe that no other five words could better describe the performance by Oakland natives, Hieroglyphics, which took place last night on Upper Sproul. With over 1,400 people in attendance, concertgoers from all over the Bay Area gathered together to watch the free and all ages event by the hip hop collective.
Pep Love welcomes the crowd.
Since rapper Del the Funky Homosapien founded the group in the early 1990’s, Hieroglyphics has been known around the nation for its smooth rhymes accompanied by jazzy beats. The group consists of nine members: Del, DJ Toure, Pep Love, Casual, Domino and the band Souls of Mischief (Phesto D, Tajai, A-plus, and Opio). Although as a crew Hieroglyphics has only released the albums “Third Eye Vision” (1998) and “Full Circle” (2003), each of the individual artists also has solo careers outside of the collective. The distinctive rapping styles and voices of all of the members comprise the versatility of the group’s sound.
Casual gets into the music and starts dancing with the beat.
A-Plus waves his arms in the air as he “spits” his rhymes.
Along with the perfectly chosen set list of classic songs and new tunes, Hieroglyphics was able to incorporate both hits by the entire crew and songs from their solo careers. With a little help from the entire crowd singing along, the group started off the concert with old Hieroglyphics singles like “Classic” and “At the Helm,” and continued the night with crowd favorites “’93 ‘til infinity” by Souls of Mischief and “Sunshine in a Bag” by Del from the Gorillaz. The eclectic and heart-pumping beats played by DJ Toure complimented the meaningful lyrics addressing age-old issues in society. While a number of current hip hop artists today only rap about money and sex, it was refreshing to hear music so real and heartfelt that it was able to put my stressed out UC Berkeley mind at ease.
Del and A-Plus get interactive with one another as they rap back and forth.
Opio has his turn at the microphone.
With cuffed jeans and Vans on his feet, Tajai pumps up the crowd by telling them to meet him at Wurster Hall after the show.
One aspect of the concert was undeniable – whether front row center or on the balcony of the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union, it was impossible to resist from enjoying and bobbing along with the music. From Tajai constantly jumping up and down to get the audience involved to Pep Love’s jokes about having to make the long journey from Oakland, their down-to-earth energy and positive vibes had all of us become part of the Hieroglyphics-created community as we waved our arms to the beat in unison.
The crew comes together with large smiles to hype up the crowd. All photography by the author.
Hieroglyphics were presented by Superb. To learn about more Hieroglyphics’ up and coming projects for 2011, please visit their website.