The Pharcyde

Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde

The Pharcyde - Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde ©1992 Delicious Vinyl
1. Oh Shit
2. It's Jiggaboo Time
3. 4 Better Or 4 Worse
4. I'm The Type Of Nigga
5. If I Were President
6. Soulflower
7. On The DL
8. Officer
9. Ya Mama
10. Passin Me By
11. Otha Fish
12. Quinton's On His Way
13. Pack The Pipe
14. Return Of The B-Boy

So you have a metalhead friend who hates hip hop with a passion, or maybe a punk who thinks rap exploits women and will therefore have nothing to do it, or perhaps an internet critic who simply won't shut up about NoMeansNo. Well, I suggest a healthy dose of the ultimate party rap consort, The Pharcyde. They'll either love it and be instantly transformed into hip hop gurus, or more than likely, bash your head open with a brick. The first album by the lovably obnoxious Califorinia rappers, is a wonderfully adventurous exploration that covers almost every social topic known to man in the best way possible - with a brilliant mixture of low and high comedy and introspective contemplation. The four rappers that form The Pharcyde are all very humorous, thoughtful, surprsingly lucid and self-depreciating, and most importantly, they can actually rap. None of the marble-in-the-mouth stylings of Mas or Puff Daddy here.

The music on the album is very lush and multi-layered, with a mixture of live instruments, turntable wankery, and samples from jazz, R&B, funk, classic rock and everything in between. Powerful beats pervade, with some of the most kinetic bass lines this side of funkadelic. The Pharcyde forgoes the minimalism that now dominates mainstream rap music, favoring intense rhythmic layering and a strong melodic element instead. Piano lines cascade down dropping bass lines while three or four vocal tracks attack from all sides. The music is jaunty, elaborate and even atmospheric in parts (consider the stoner rap anthem "Pack the Pipe"), all of it drawn tightly together with the band's satirical lyrical outllook. Failed relationships, political violence, timeless nostalgia, intense bitterness, hemp activism, urban renewal, racism and intense longing are all explored with precision. And yet, the album is always entertaining, always inviting, ideal for both parties and intensely personal listening.

Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde and the Pharcyde albums that followed, well illustrate the promise and potential of hip hop music with greater aspirations, promise and potential still largely unexplored. Intensely lyrical, surprisingly melodic, and a good deal more involved than most hip hop groups, The Pharcyde are among the elite of the genre.

Review by James Slone

Review date: 09/2000

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