“I’d have to say Tribe and Dogg Pound, Snoop and them,” he says around the 2:40-minute mark. “When you at that point of discovery as a kid and you’re seeing these new ways of doing things, these new ways of rapping … the way Hieroglyphics were rapping at the time was completely new … the bending of words.
“Me and Eminem, we sat on the phone for about an hour talking about Hieroglyphics crew … we were trading their lyrics on the phone like, ‘Do you remember, man?’ They sparked so much, they opened up a new door for everybody. Just to around that time and to be … we were out when Wu was out. We were out when Nas was out. But we were from the South and we had to step up.”
Granted, Tajai of the mighty Hieroglyphics crew was well aware André and Em were fans, but that doesn’t make 3 Stacks’ most recent comments any less incredible.
“Outkast and Eminem have always shown us their appreciation for what we do,” Tajai tells HipHopDX. “We have even been told by D12 associates that we were a favorite of Proof’s — rest in power. I remember seeing a Hiero sticker in 8 Mile in their studio and being super pleased.
“It is a great feeling to hear that they talked candidly amongst themselves about us and for the world to hear it as well. We are often called ‘rapper’s rappers’ and to hear this validated by two of the all-time greatest is an honor.”
Hieroglyphics — comprised of Tajai, A-Plus, Del The Funky Homosapien, Phesto, Pep Love, Domino, Casual, Opio and DJ Touré — dropped their debut album 3rd Eye Vision in 1998. To commemorate the project, which turned 20 last year, the group went on an extensive anniversary tour.
During a Denver stop in June, Tajai talked to DX about what makes their group so solid.
“We grew up together, so we’re friends first,” he said. “It’s not like we’re a supergroup. You think of all these other groups, they were put together either by a label or by their mutual interest in rap. We were friends who had a mutual interest in rap, so as long as we keep the friendship as our priority it works out.
“We go through stuff, but all friends go through stuff. We’re each other’s kids’ godparents. You know, we grew up together — literally. I’ve had these friends since, at the earliest, 1980.”
In terms of the future, Hiero is always in the lab — whether together or solo. But as Tajai tells DX, a follow-up to 2013’s The Kitchen is in the works.
“I’m working on Black Hoodie Chronicles, the follow-up to Rap Noir,” he adds. “Casual has a new album finished. A-Plus has an album called Black Adam Hardwired. Opio and Breakbeat Lou have a project finished and we are working on a new Hiero album.”
(No big deal.)