Tour Stories: So, You Really Wanna Be in Show Business?

Souls of Mischief – “’93 Til Infinity

What up? This is Tajai of Souls of Mischief. Let me tell you guys, making the transition from being on a major, where everything is paid for—cars, hotels, plane tickets, tour support—to being on… nothing, was shocking and a little bit scary. We came directly out of high school into a major label deal into a world of stardom, so to not have that label security made it seem like everything else would go away. Luckily, Domino had the foresight and we had the talent to decide to rely upon ourselves, and this music, first and foremost, as a way to improve our situation.

Pulling a boatload of favors (big up to Matt Kelly for hooking up a lot of the studio sessions during this time and using his expertise to mix our records to perfection) we recorded our first indie album, Third Eye Vision in 1996/1997. During (and pretty much since) this time we toured the world constantly and made friends with a lot of promoters, who were young up-and comers and mainly fans at the time. A lot of these folks now run some huge promotion companies and booking agencies. Some even own the venues where they book us.

Hieroglyphics – “You Never Knew

Hieroglyphics Imperium really started on the landing at my mom’s house. A buddy of mine put me up on this kid named StinkE, who started a fan site for us on this thing called the “internet.” We reached out and connected with him and made the site official in 1995.

Once we had the Imperium up, Domino kept telling me he had these old tapes of our unreleased demos and music. By that time we had about 15 years of material, so we decided to start slangin’ tapes, and put it this way—we moved a lot of tapes. Eventually, Hiero moves up to a desk in our lawyer and longtime advisor Michael Ashburne’s office. By 1998, we had a studio and an office in downtown Oakland. By 2000, we had a warehouse in West Oakland. In 2004, we purchased our own warehouse and offices in East Oakland with our own recording studios, T-shirt and merchandise manufacturing facility, AV studios, and our corporate offices.

Hieroglyphics – “Soweto

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  • capcobra

    best intro since ready to die…lol.

  • Mike Bigga

    Long Live Hiero! Preciate all the dopeness!!!!!

  • thoreauly77/ian

    proper aim IS THAT SHIT. dope video, dope song. ordering the record today.

    taj- congrats on everything man, for you and all your hiero brethren; many of us have been right there with you all these years. why dont you guys play south bay? down here in san jose we are fiending for fresh hip hop!


  • Conducta


    • thoreauly77/ian

      its not a wrong thing, to be addicted to the microphone like a heroin fiend, i’ll tell you one thing/you’ll never catch me frontin’


  • Tony Grands

    Big, big fan.

    Hiero had the ill maxi-singles, back in the day. All the b-sides, very few cats in the industry were releasing music like that.

    Cas, Del, Snupe, the whole team.

    Again, big, big fan. Glad to see y’all dudes still popping off, on your own terms.

    • capcobra

      what up grands…what up $yk.

      • $ykotic/Don McCaine

        cap what’s the word fam? Pass me some of Carolina’s best. Leave it over on

        • Tony Grands

          What up y’all?!

          Man, I used to listen to Hieroglyphics like it was going out of style. I had a couple of their “lost” demos, back in the day.

          When Taj talks about making music, that shit was making it all the way from their trunk to L.A.

          The new joint, ‘Montezuma’s Revenge’ is classic S.O.M.

        • thoreauly77/ian

          go to the hiero site; opio has a free ep link. listening to it right now and its dope.

        • Tony Grands

          Thanks. I’m going to check it out.

  • Trackstar the DJ

    Hiero was a very important part of my formative years as a hip hop fan and DJ. Respect.

  • $ykotic/Don McCaine

    That’s what’s up. A big fan of the camp right here.

  • thoreauly77

    this will be comment three i have tried to leave. whats the problem xxl?

    tajai- you and your whole hiero camp are and have always been ill. some of us have been fans since the jump. keep doing what youre doing.

    also, you guys are so close, so why dont you play the south bay?

  • The Kid

    The Domino link up above is to the wrong Domino on Wikipedia!!! Domino from the bay isn’t a CRIP!!! Domino from the bay is peaceful brotha… no gang bangin’!!!

  • getthesenets

    props for keeping it going without the label…..

    saw a clip of you and casual in the BET booth….you ripped the walls apart…

    my favorite beat/instrumental out of your camp was “After dark” by pep love…..

  • bollocks

    Taj –

    What’s good? Thank you for comin on here and representing the Bay to the fullest. We get no shine, but the Heiro/Souls camp is our best link to other fans. (E-40 is the shit, and deserves respect, but y’all are our true ambassadors.)

    Can’t wait to hear that new new. I’m sure it’s as great as the other billion-plus records you’re linked with.

  • silentmurder

    I love the new album! thanks for posting here as well, it was cool reading your thoughts.

  • beaver

    souls of mischief is my shit..
    great musikk..

  • sfgiants2001

    Dope read! Heiro been doing it for so long, new album is great. Tajai is doing amazing things for the Bay.

  • tutu

    All yall dope!!! Love the movement! Im Heiro to tha casket drop!!