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Hieroglyphics co-founder, who is considered to be one of your favorite rappers’ most respected rappers, Casual, is kicking off the 20-year celebration of his formidable and influential album Fear Itself by announcing a commemorative tour where he will perform the original album in its entirety. He is also releasing a digitally remastered version of the instrumentals. Respected and recognized as one of the most skilled and versatile rappers, his Fear Itself debut was responsible not only for introducing Casual’s dizzying rhyme styles to the world-at-large, but also for strengthening the foothold of his crew in an age when few equated lyrical hip-hop with the West Coast.

Fear Itself is also widely-recognized for its richly-layered and jazzy beats, many of which were produced by Casual himself. The sample selection and arrangement led to the album being cited as one of the “Top 20-plus Hip Hop Albums of All Time from a Beat Fanatics Perspective” in a 1995 column in Rap Pages, which was one of the few hip hop magazines with nationwide distribution during that pre-internet era. Even with a coveted 4-mic rating in The Source and a strong debut at #104 on Billboard’s Pop Album Charts, the label (Jive Records) never quite gave the album the boost it deserved to catapult Casual to the success many had predicted. Still, Fear Itself quickly gained a cult status to a wide range of hip hop enthusiasts, and was later ranked at #15 of The Most Slept-On Albums of All-Time in The Source in 2011. Casual’s lyrical stylings kept listeners on edge with his never-predictable internal rhyme schemes, and many eventually associated the album with a freestyle battle on KMEL’s “The Wake Up Show” against Saafir that is often mentioned among the most memorable battles in rap history.

Not long after finishing high school in 1992, Casual was able to showcase his already-polished talent to several label execs and A&Rs, and a bidding war ensued. Bypassing Elektra (where his co-hort Del Tha Funkee Homosapien was signed), he eventually chose Jive Records, which was not only where his Hiero crewmates Souls Of Mischief had signed, but was also home to Too $hort, KRS-ONE, and A Tribe Called Quest. The album was finished by February 1993, and the anticipation of the album would swell nationwide thanks to the lead single “That’s How It Is,” widely-traded freestyle recordings from Stretch and Bobbito’s WKCR radio show in New York, and his appearances both rapping and producing on Del’s No Need for Alarm and Souls of Mischief’s 93 Til Infinity albums. Despite a tepid promotional campaign by Jive and numerous delays, Fear Itself would finally be released in June 1994.

In commemoration of the anniversary, Casual, joined by the rest of the Hieroglyphics crew, will host an official celebration in San Francisco at Brick & Mortar, Saturday April 19. A tour throughout the U.S. performing the album will follow in May and June, with a European tour coming in Fall 2014.

Fear Itself 20 Year Anniversary Tour Dates:

April 20th – @Brooktrails Lodge – Willits, CA
April 26 – @19th Broadway – Fairfax, CA
May 2nd – @Chrome Lotus – Santa Rosa, CA
May 3rd – @The Back Bar – San Jose, CA
May 4th – @The Catalyst – Santa Cruz, CA
May 11th – @Crocodile Cafe – Seattle, WA
May 15th – @The Palace Lounge – Missoula, MT
May 17th – @Cervantes Masterpiece – Denver, CO
May 21st – @Pub Rock – Scottsdale, AZ
May 22nd – @Green Room – Flagstaff, AZ
May 23rd – @Plush – Tucson, AZ
June 13th – @Coopers – Nevada City, CA
August 9th – @Shambhala Music Festival – Salmo, Canada

Purchase Tickets here: http://www.hieroglyphics.com/events

Buy the Instrumental Album here: http://casual1.bandcamp.com/album/fear-itself-instrumentals


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4 Responses to "Hieroglyphics Co-Founder Casual Celebrates 20-Year Anniversary of Fear Itself with Tour & Remastered Instrumentals"
  • Tom says:

    That is super awesome that he released the instrumentals! I hope more artists do this. Except, maybe not charge $10 for a digital download. That is almost how much it used to cost to buy CDs and there was actually a physical product involved there. It seems silly to charge as much as a CD for a digital copy. Logically, it should be cheaper.

  • The Man the Myth says:

    All the early Hiero stuff gets plays still to this day. Extra Prolific, Casual, Pep Love, Del’ frist 2 joints and Souls of Mischief. Those albums were all so nice.

  • Dnpmonk25 says:

    Love how Wu and Hiero still make moves!92-93!

  • Justmarv says:

    How about a deluxe 2 disc reissue, including all the instrumentals, b-sides, and remixes.

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