Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Moment of Truth: Hiero Day is Hip-Hop Heaven on Labor Day

Posted By on Tue, Sep 1, 2015 at 2:03 PM

click image HIERO DAY
  • Hiero Day

Oakland's ubiquitous Hieroglyphics crew brings its annual Hiero Day back to West Oakland for its 4th year on Monday, Sept. 7 from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. and this year's rendition is bigger and better than ever.

Hiero Day has put together another imaginative lineup featuring Bay Area hip-hop greats (Hieroglyphics, Zion I, The Coup), as well as masters from beyond the Bay (Alkaholiks, Aceyalone), a bomb slate of well-known DJ's (Peanut Butter Wolf, DJ Rhettmatic), and a tastefully curated group of up-and-comers that need to be in your speakers (Saba, NxWorries).

"The vision is to bring hip-hop together," says Hiero Day's Ari Berger, of the event. "There's a divide created by the mainstream media and a generational gap... But Hiero Day is a platform to be educated on your hip-hop history."

The 2015 edition of Hiero Day has moved down the street a bit from last year to a new spot on 3rd and Chestnut St. in West Oakland. The once claustrophobic stage set-ups are gone, replaced with an improved venue that is more open, easy to navigate, and features fancy VIP areas. The biggest change, however, is that Hiero Day 2015 is now a paid ticketed event. In the past the event was always free to the public (and saw upwards of 22,000 attendees last year!), but this year tickets are cleverly priced at $19.93. Don't fret though, the money raised from ticket sales will make for a better event and essentially guarantees that Hiero Day is here to stay (especially since Hiero Day is an official Oakland holiday, as declared by the mayor at last year's fest.)

Berger explains that decision to make the event paid was, "In order to afford to throw it because of the exponential growth, as well as [providing] a safe and controlled environment."

I can get behind that. Hiero Day 2015 will also introduce a number of additional upgrades with the funds. The stages have an improved Meyer sound set-up, a 3x3 B-Boy Battle will be going down, as well as live graffiti walls. All the hip-hop elements are in place and Berger adds that, "We're honoring all the fundamental principles of hip-hop. Hiero day is all-encompassing." Truth. 

Nearby Linden St Brewery (who brewed the delicious Hiero Glow especially for the event last year) is gone as the beer sponsor, but Lagunitas has stepped in to keep the cold suds flowing at the fest (and it gets hot, so this is essential.) But let's be real here... the star-studded line-up is clearly a function of having more money in the pot to play with and on that note, here's some of our picks for who to check out at Hiero Day. And you better believe that this is how we're gonna spend our Labor Day! 

Cali Agents

Look, Rasco and Planet Asia's How The West Was One is one of the greatest "up from the underground" productions from underground hip-hop's Golden Age in 2000. Planet Asia played a set at last year's fest, but this year Rasco will be alongside him to drop gems like "Neva Forget" and "Talking Smack" (which features the greatest justification of making music for money that I've ever heard in "I'm not in the game to try to break my neck/ my little baby girl can't eat yo respect").


One half of Heltah Skeltah along with the recently passed Sean Price. You know there's gonna be a lot of love in the crowd for the departed Price when Rockness steps to the mic. 

The DJ Slate

Crazy props to Hiero Day for bringing in two of the most accomplished DJ's in hip-hop in Stones Throw Records founder Peanut Butter Wolf and the Beat Junkies' turntablist master, DJ Rhettmatic. Last year Adrian Younge's DJ set stole the show for me, so def looking for the same greatness out of this year's lineup. Also note L.A.'s Dibiase, who's a solid up-and-comer that infuses Brazilian samples into his beats. 


Producer Knxwledge is fresh off of producing the incredible "Momma," on Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp A Butterfly, and has teamed up with soul singer Anderson.Paak to create a sound that makes so much damn sense coming out of the Stones Throw label. Both have their own library of music, but the intrigue here is in what new shit they might drop off of their NxWorries project, like their first single "Suede":

Chicago Rap

Some of the most promising hip-hop is comin' outta the Windy City. Shouts to soulful singer Psalm One, reppin the Rhymesayers crew and MC Saba, who leads Chicago's Pivot Gang and had a killer feature on Chance the Rapper's "Everybody's Something."

Bay Area Love

The lineup is a glorious hip-hop wormhole of Bay Area hip-hop: HBK Gang representation from P-Lo, Jay Ant, Kool John, and Azure as well as the classic Bay Area hip-hop department in Zion I and The Coup. But wait...there's still one more Bay Area hip-hop collective that's got us hyped....

Hieroglyphics Crew!

The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow of Hiero Day is the Hiero crew itself. Every single member of Hiero crew will be at the event. Come to hear the classics like "Oakland Blackouts," and Souls of Mischief's "93 'til Infinity," plus all the solo jams and stay to get up on Hiero's new projects, like Opio and Free The Robots' Sempervirens and A-Plus and Nobody's Growtheory. You're gonna come for what you know, but you're gonna leave with a whole lot more that "You Never Knew." One love to Hiero crew and Hiero Day. See y'all there!

Hiero Day 2015
Monday September 7th, 11am-7pm
3rd & Chestnut, Oakland
Tickets $19.93 advance/ $35 door

  • Pin It

Tags: , , , , , ,

About The Author

Adrian Spinelli

Adrian Spinelli

Hip hop and sandwiches.

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2


Comments are closed.

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"