Hieroglyphics, also known as the Hieroglyphics Crew and Hiero, is an American underground hip hop collective based in Oakland, California. The collective was founded in the early-1990s by rapper Del the Funky Homosapien. The collective is currently composed of rappers Del the Funky Homosapien, Casual, Pep Love, producer/manager Domino, DJ Toure, and the four individual members of the rap group Souls of Mischief: Phesto, A-Plus, Opio, and Tajai.
The Hieroglyphics combine fundamentally sound deliveries and lyrical content with original and sometimes jazzy or funky beats and samples. Since their inception, Hieroglyphics have found a following largely through their live concerts, podcasts ("Hierocasts"), and promotion through their website.
The collective uses a three-eyed, straight-lipped face logo that figures prominently on their albums, website, stickers, and clothing.
As a collective, the Hieroglyphics have released three studio albums: 3rd Eye Vision in 1998, Full Circle in 2003, and The Kitchen in 2013.
In 2005, the collective released a live DVD and accompanying CD of the Hiero's 2003 Full Circle Tour.
The collective has also released five compilation albums: Hieroglyphics B-Sides and Hieroglyphics Oldies, Vol. I in 1997, Hieroglyphics Oldies, Vol. II in 1998, The Building in 2004, The Corner in 2005, and most recently, Over Time, in March 2007.
Individual members of the collective have also released albums of their own, either through solo projects or outside group projects.
The collective's ubiquitous, third eye logo is the Mayan numerical for 8, also used as a symbol for infinite. Created by Del the Funky Homosapien, the son of an abstract artist and has been used to promote the collective through reproduction on the Hieroglyphic's album covers, website, promotional materials, stickers, and clothing.
In a 2000 interview with the SF Weekly, Del commented:
When I invented that symbol, I never thought it would get this big. I've seen about 20 people with that tattoo. I saw a comic book -- like Clerks or something -- and one of the fools in there had a Hiero shirt on. I saw a Redman and Method Man video, and there's somebody in the crowd with a Hiero shirt on. I think slowly but surely people are starting to pay attention to us.
The Clerks comic in question was drawn by underground comic artist Jim Mahfood who has worked various rap and hip hop items into his work over his career and has had his live art shows compared to hip hop musicians. In an interview with halftimeonline.net in 2004, Mahfood mentioned Del and the Hieroglyphics by name:
Working in comics, especially the way I do, is totally comparable to an underground emcee or rap crew because you can actually make a living off of it without selling out or compromising your vision. Some of my heroes are Del The Funkee Homosapien from the Hieroglyphics crew, Jurassic 5, or my homeboy Z-Trip are all people who have developed a following for doing something really specific.
The logo also appeared in Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead #5 on a T-shirt worn by Glenn, who also wears the shirt in the first episode of the Walking Dead video game series.