A rap group consisting of 9 talented members that started in the early nineties and have still never 'officially' broken up although several of the individual members have gone on to work on their own various projects and collaborations. One such individual you may have heard of is Del the Funkee Homosapien who's early solo album No Need for Alarm I highly recommend, and not just because he lays down his smooth-ass flow over such obscure samples as high-school orchestra violinists playing in all sharps. Del recently released his 3rd solo album Both Sides of the Brain which also kicks ass and features cameo appearances by almost all the original hieroglyphics. All these guys are smooth, innovative and dope but seem to be known only by true followers of hip hop, a group of people alot smaller than you might think.
If intrigued, please check out Hiero's classic 3rd Eye Vision which contains the ingenious line: "Watch your back; things are not what they seem - you'll get washed even if you're way too clean."
Egyptian society made early strides in the medium of storage of information by using both stone tablets and monuments in combination with papyrus, and kept the circuit of information flow within their culture fairly limited (in comparison to the Babylonians or Akkadians) to the point where some have speculated the priest classes may have intentionally complicated (and in essence codified) versions of their own hieroglyphic writing. Whether this was an effort to further mystify the process, or ensure secrecy, is impossible to verify- however the 'hieratica' practiced by these scribes was a knowledge kept exclusively within the religious leadership of the society.* By 1500 BC, thousands of scribes were at work under a upper echelon of bureaucrats, viziers, provincial governors, who all in turn operated under the leadership of a god-class of Pharaoh rulers. The librarian scribes of this society had their own professional code, not unlike what would develop under monastic culture in Europe 2000 years later, and were expected to :

a) apply themselves to study,
b) practice self- control and discipline,
c) show prudence at all times,
d) respect their superiors, and finally,
e) be scrupulous in their regard for the sanctity of weights, measures, property and legality.

Papyrus became the widespread standard for historical record and correspondence, and the Egyptians even experimented with sheets pasted into spines in an early book format. However, in this culture, the true divide among classes was deepened by elite education and the religious secrecy surrounding knowledge.

Without wider exchange within their culture, and a lack of inter-cultural exchange on account of their inaccessibility in the desert, the pace of innovation in Egyptian society was excruciatingly slow by the standards set by other cultures of the time- extremely late in developing the potter's wheel, or simple metallurgic skills such as copper use or lathing. One cannot help but conclude by the time widespread decay began in 1150 BC, with slave rebellions, strikes in the civil service, economic recession, tomb-looting and then the assassination of Ramses III (in his own harem, no less), the society had simply grown too insular and conservative to survive in the face of conflict and change.
* Historians believe the first cryptographic practices were actually used by Egyptian scribes recording the history of their rulers' lives, whereby they intentionally varied standard forms of hieroglyphic on monuments and tombs to distinguish or 'tag' them as sacred or mystically significant- temple scribes adopted similar practice to add mystery to religious texts. Ironically, as Egyptian culture grew more complex and de-centralized, these symbols grew increasingly muddled as occult glyphs, pictographic, ideographic and accents all intertwined- and common grammar became increasingly unstable. For more, see Rosenheim's (Shawn James) The Cryptographic Imagination (John Hopkins University Press: 1997).

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