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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Moment of Truth: Hiero's Tajai Joins G Koop and O-Man's Video Beat Construction Series

Posted By on Wed, Nov 4, 2015 at 11:58 AM


I came across a music documentary series the other day, that simultaneously made my head turn and ears perk up. Somehow, my first viewing of G Koop & O-Man was already the Bay Area duo's 53rd episode. This time around, they had Tajai from Oakland's Souls of Mischief and Hieroglyphics crew in the mix as they unfolded the process for the video's climax, a track called "Lost In The Game."

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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Moment of Truth: Run The Jewels at TIMF in Photos

Posted By on Thu, Oct 22, 2015 at 1:13 PM

  • Adrian Spinelli
  • BAMM!

You gotta hand it to Run The Jewels. They've gotten a lot of people excited about hip-hop again, and many for the first time. Their sophomore album, Run The Jewels 2, has endeared itself to hip-hop heads and indie kids alike. So when Killer Mike and El-P descended upon Treasure Island Music Festival this past Saturday, the crowd was hyped.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Moment of Truth: Breaking Down Big Grams

Posted By on Wed, Oct 14, 2015 at 10:22 AM

  • TIMF

I never liked math class very much, but there's one (rap) equation I can get behind, and that's Phantogram + Big Boi = Big Grams. The powerful duo's maiden voyage goes down at the Treasure Island Music Festival on Saturday and along with Run The Jewels, they represent the hip-hop offerings at the fest. 

So how the hell did one half of Outkast team up with electro-pop darlings Phantogram to create this unconventional supergroup? Big Grams told Paste Magazine's Kyle Mullin, that the first time they met was right in here in San Francisco, during 2011’s Outside Lands Festival. It seems fitting that their first live performance will go down at OSL’s alternative-dressing sister fest, TIMF (shouts to TI for making this happen on short notice after Azealia Banks dropped out just a few weeks ago.)

But what can we make of this project? The Big Grams EP is a brief yet shining seven tracks, which all feed into a complex theme of the 7 deadly sins. Let's take this opportunity to break it down track-for-track and see what's under the skin of the supergroup's debut (which you can hear in full at the bottom of this post):

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Moment of Truth: The Roots Are Coming to Town

Posted By on Tue, Sep 29, 2015 at 9:34 AM

  • photo via The Warfield

Go ahead and file The Roots under one of the live bands you have to see once in your lifetime. 

Somehow, The Roots have been around for damn near three decades. Earlier this year their iconic jazz/hip-hop fusion record Do You Want More?!!?!!?! turned 20. They've become a household name in America through their gig as the house band on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Moment of Truth: Oakland Music Festival Celebrates Bay Area Culture

Posted By on Tue, Sep 22, 2015 at 11:05 AM


There's a ton of music festivals popping up these days, and each comes with it's own unique charm. For the three-year-old Oakland Music Festival (OMF), the charm lies in it's goal of capturing Oakland's renaissance by elevating it's vibrant culture. It's a classic case of an intimate festival with a lineup of artists and performers that far outweigh it's modest attendance numbers (2,500 in 2014.)

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Moment of Truth: Blackalicious Overcome Health Issues to Drop First Album in 10 Years

Posted By on Wed, Sep 16, 2015 at 11:41 AM

(L to R) Gift of Gab and Chief Xcel - PHOTO VIA BLACKALICIOUS
  • photo via Blackalicious
  • (L to R) Gift of Gab and Chief Xcel

Gift of Gab, the venerable speed-rapping MC of conscious Bay Area hip-hop mainstay, Blackalicious, suffered kidney failure in 2012 stemming from his Type 1 diabetes. For the past 3 years, he has undergone dialysis sessions three times a week. In 2016, he'll be at the top of the waiting list for a transplant.

Yet, at the same time his kidneys stopped working, Gab and producer Chief Xcel began work on their highly anticipated fourth LP, Imani Vol. 1.  It would be the duo's first album since 2005’s The Craft, and the first installment of the three-volume Imani project which drops this Friday.

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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Moment of Truth: The 16 Best Moments at Hiero Day 2015

Posted By on Tue, Sep 8, 2015 at 1:24 PM

  • Adrian Spinelli
Moment of Truth is SF Weekly's hip-hop column by Adrian Spinelli appearing every Tuesday on the All Shook Down blog.

Spirits (and temperatures) were high in West Oakland yesterday. The 4th annual Hiero Day festival was the most breathable and best-sounding one yet, with an imaginative lineup that pulled talent largely from underground hip-hop's late-'90s Golden Age, but also showed an awareness of some of today's finer hip-hop. 

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Friday, September 4, 2015

How to Get to Hiero Day Without BART

Posted By on Fri, Sep 4, 2015 at 9:50 AM


BART sucks — let's just get that out there right off the bat. But, in the bay, its pretty much all we've got, so the announced closure of the Transbay BART system (between SF and Oakland) throughout Labor Day Weekend puts a damper on a lot of plans. Especially for music fans who were headed to the delightfully thorough collection of classic and contemporary hip-hop that the Hiero Day 2015 Festival (put on by Oakland's Hieroglyphics crew) has graciously put together for your enjoyment on Monday, Sept. 7. We told you all about it and highlighted some of our picks earlier this week in our Moment of Truth weekly hip-hop column. 

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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).

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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Moment of Truth: Berkeley's Caleborate Drops Hella Good LP

Posted By on Thu, Aug 27, 2015 at 9:44 AM


Bay Area born and bred Caleborate was one of the first subjects of the Moment of Truth column. We profiled the 22-year old MC in January and dubbed his Winter Break EP as "settled and fluent." He hasn't stopped working and developing his style since and just premiered his new Hella Good LP this week over at Pigeons & Planes. Today, we keep touting the praises of one of the most promising local hip-hop products and releases of the year. 

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  • 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.'"