Hiero Day is a homegrown Oakland tradition — an all-day, family-friendly block party celebrating the musical legacy of Hieroglyphics and the '90s hip-hop scene that gave them their rise. While the legendary conscious hip-hop collective closes out each year’s Labor Day festival (in a new location this year, on 18th and Poplar Streets in West Oakland), this year’s edition features plenty of hometown heroes and big-name national acts.
Artists not to miss include Oakland’s first lady of R&B, Goapele; Texas giant Bun B; underground hip-hop champions Dead Prez; pioneering female gangsta rapper Yo-Yo; rising Richmond singer Rayana Jay; and, of course, Lil B the Based God. But other than these oft-talked-about performers, Hiero Day features many up-and-coming artists worthy of attention. To help you navigate the fest, we’ve rounded up six must-see rising artists who might not be on your radar.
YMTK got his start singing in church in his native Oakland, and his soulful sensibilities shine through his paradisiacal, sun-soaked party jams. The L.A.-based singer's velvety R&B vocals glide over house beats and trunk-shaking Town bass lines alike.
Ezale represents the East Oakland neighborhood Funktown, named for a gang that reigned the area in the ’80s. But his neighborhood’s nickname also describes the exuberant rapper’s old-school, funky sound. His street anthems “Five Minutes of Funktown” and “Too High” have made him a local favorite.