Oakland, California-based Hiero Imperium Records
announces Bay Area rapper Knobody
as the first artist signing to its new Triple i League
. The Hiero Imperium Triple i League
is Hiero's version of a Major League Baseball farm team. With the goal of providing a kickstart for fresh talent, the seasoned vets at Hiero are bringing their A&R and business expertise to the table and scouting the best undiscovered talent in the Bay and beyond.
In an industry where it's common to see undiscovered talent get signed under a major label artist's label only to get trapped in a financially parasitic situation, Hiero CEO Tajai Massey
makes it clear that this program is nothing like the typical industry contracts that exploit up-and-coming artists. Instead, the program is about taking artists who already have a complete package and mentoring them on the business side of the industry so that they can be capable of controlling their own careers and become the CEOs of tomorrow. "Hiero isn't looking to help polish lyrics or build from the ground up. Triple i League contenders must already be complete artists who are ready to move on to the next level," remarks Tajai.
New recruits must go through a rigorous regimen of trials and exercises in the Hiero Compound in East Oakland before being formally accepted as team members of the Triple i League. In keeping with the Hieroglyphics' aesthetic, a candidate needs to be lyrically adept and have depth to their music. Tajai explains, "We're looking for people that can bring honesty and integrity to the plate. Emcees with made-up images need not apply because that sort of artifice can be hard to maintain. Honesty about who you are and where you come from is the number one quality that will get you ahead in this game."
Knobody came to the attention of Hiero's resident A&R man, Casual
, at a show that he was performing at in 2006. Casual couldn't stop listening to the CD that Knobody gave him, and within weeks Knobody was signed to Hiero Imperium as the first member of the Triple i League crew. Casual has high praise for him. "Knobody's well of rhymes runs deep. The only other emcee I've heard who can consistently flow on the same subject throughout a song without having to switch up is Eminem."
Knobody's first album on Hiero, Tha Clean Up
, will be released on September 18, 2007. Tha Clean Up
is a heavy hitting, cohesive album that aims to do what a clean-up hitter does on a baseball team: smack some balls out of the park. Starting off with a voicemail from Knobody's cousin assuring the listener that the following tracks are "hella tight," the album is Knobody's declaration that he will do what he wants whether you like it or not. With heady lyrics and the production savvy of Da Beathoven
(Scion/Roland 2007 King of the Beats Champion, Federation, Wu-Tang, Sik Wid It Records
), the first single "What U Think
" is a confident, take-no-prisoners anthem for staying true to yourself and doing your own thing - "wit life in tha pen / every page a breath / my last days / so its only a coupla pages left / I said fuck it / raise tha stakes / I done made my bets / im all in / I’l see ya struggle & I raise u stress"