Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hiero Vs. Hobo

This legendary battle between the Bay area's Hieroglyphics and Hobo Junction crews showed up on KMEL back in 1995. This was the result of some bruised ego shit. Saafir was on Casual's album, but for whatever reason Casual didn't appear on Saafir's. The general consensus with this battle is that Casual got served, and it's true, Saafir is the most articulate, but then there's the question of whether or not he was spitting pre-written lyrics. I personally just love how spastic the Hiero kids are on the mic. And I think Casual kills it. Listen yourself, and you be the judge.


  1. Yeah, this is the right word: spastic. Especially Tajai was like that. Maybe they should've had to bring Phesto and/or Del, and the result would have been quite another.
    Who kicked freestyles from the Hobos though? Only recognized Saafir (of course) and Big Nous.


  2. See, this is the whole problem with rap battles. Speaking generally, nobody knows the history, but they wanna offer up judgement. When Kool Moe Dee battled Busy Bee, you think he (KMD) was comin' straight off top? PLEASE! He came PREPARED with a game plan that included written raps. Busy Bee came with his same ol' shtick, and LOST BIG TIME. Same thing applies with the Heiro/Hobo Junction battle. Heiro came unprepared to battle, period. They sounded hella manic, wild and stupid on the mic. No punchlines of any note came from their side, just whining and complaining about "kick ya written raps". Meanwhile Saafir has his clown suit on just killing 'em with multiple memorable punchlines. I respect extemporaneous rapping, particularly when cats can battle on a high level with it. It's hard as hell to do. But in a battle, the bottom line is: Who got served?, and there's a reason why it's pretty much universally accepted that Heiro did.

  3. @Shirk

    I disagree. I think that Heiro held their own, all things considered.

    At the time, I gave it to Hobo, because 1)They were the "underground" at the time, and they also represented the flatlands (East, West or North Oakland) while Heiro were all kids from the Hills(Rich kids).
    And Saffir murdeed them lyrically haha...

    But later, I started to call it even. Because, in a live battle, freestyle > writtens.Everytime.

    I realize that in this day and age of punchline, comedy battles...that's not the popular view. But I feel like, if you're gonna kick written, then just make a dis album. When I see cats battle, I wanna see what they are bringing off the top, wit, rhymes ability.

    Anyway, that's just my opinion.

    Also, there is so much backstory to this battle, that was happening around this time...there could be a documentary haha. There were fights, there was a point when Heiro had a target on them, serious. Getting harassed at shows, chased etc... It got really ugly.

    @Anon The only people who kicked a little bit of a freestyle was King San, Nous, and some other dude calling himself Julian. Mic T came off the top(but he wasn't in Hobo OR Heiro(but helped start the whole mess) was in The Cytoplasms or CYTO P. I can't remember anybody else.

    Last thing(whew) Tajai verse was going good until he second guessed himself.

    "Yo Saffir, you's a b*tch...always talking about that s*it/ you from Fresno, talking about West side O/you ain't from 2-4(Housing project on 24th street in west Oakland which has since been demolished) don't nobody in westside know who you are/ my name is Tajai and I am a star/how many units have you moved in your lifetime?"

    It was off the dome, and relevant... He fell off after he said he "sound like a white boy on crack" , possibly because he was worried about the white listeners turning against him. (remember, the Wake Up Show were gonna take votes at the end)

    And Opio and PEP Love had some of the best verses IMO.

    Anyway, I haven't listened to this is years. Is it the whole thing, or taped off the radio?

  4. oh man what happened to this link? its like bringing me to the right place but no post for the link.....man when this went down i recorded the worse copy and i ended up up like a year later learning the story behind the battle and since it is a blog i will blog lol :) okay so since saafir was on the album fear itself [somebody should post that cd!!] he was going to be on the west coast tour jive did for the album and at one of the first shows in the bay somewhere saafir started shit on stage by bumping into casual and then busting on him saying he aint hood or some other shit and shows him his wallet so during the bumping saafir had lifted his wallet and clowned on casual and there is a video of this bay area heads back then had it and i heard it over the phone somebody was recording so later after that video got around and sway was just doiung the broadcast from up at kmel and we got to hear the broadcast on the beat casual was about to do wake up show interview and the hobos bumm rushed the studio like to get a battle because they heard that casual was talking shit so then boom the battle!!! also i heard later a few weeks or so a promoter tried to do a party up there to get them to battle and they did but i cant confirm that bro's....