Oakland's Hieroglyphics crew and Parish Entertainment Group have organized Hiero Day, a new, free block party in Oakland on Sept. 3, with live performances from Hieroglyphics, Blackalicious, Planet Asia, Equipto, Z Man, and Moe Green, and DJ sets from Honor Roll, Kev Choice Ensemble, and DJ D Sharp. There will also be a marketplace of local vendors, food trucks, and activities for kids.
"This is our way of giving back," says Hiero Imperium label CEO and Souls of Mischief member Tajai Massey. "It's also to celebrate all the good things about Oakland. We get such a bad rap -- no pun intended -- as far as the city that we're from. Hiero's positive. We've been independent for decades, feeding our families. The city's always getting ragged on, so let's just show the best side we can."
The idea for the party came from a fan, says Casual, a prominent solo artist for the collective. A participant on Hiero's message board suggested that September 3 (or 9/3) be a holiday called Hiero Day because of its numerical significance to 93 'Til Infinity, the debut album and anthemic, enduring single from Souls of Mischief. "We took it seriously and eventually thought about forming it into an event," he says. "Hiero means 'sacred,' so it will be a sacred day in hip-hop."
The all-ages event is scheduled to take place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on San Pablo Avenue between 17th and 18th Streets. Hiero Day is free thanks to the generous support of sponsors, all of whom happen to be independent and local businesses. But the Hiero crew isn't opposed to corporate sponsorships in the future where they make sense. They've also made a commitment for Hiero Day to be annual, and hope that it's celebrated not only locally, but internationally as well.
"We want it to be like 4/20," says Massey. "Maybe we'll simulcast it next year. It's not just a local thing or Oakland-based. I hope it's a day where our fans feel a solidarity worldwide, where people can just chill, listen to our music, and enjoy the legacy."