Thursday, February 11, 2010

3 Play Thursday - The Pharcyde.

It's 3 Play Thursday. Today: The Pharcyde.

The Pharcyde's seminal debut album Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde dropped in 92'. At the time, the South Central LA hip-hop quartet's odd blend of crude humor and funky tracks made them difficult to categorize. Were they "native tonguers", "west coaster", or worse, "alt-hip hop"? Were they serious, forward thinking musicians or a bunch of mic-wielding coons?

Their 1995 followup, Labcabincalifornia, is in this rap fan's humble opinion, one of the 10 best albums evar! Unlike its predecessor, Labcabin was a lot more focused lyrically and sonically, and most of the humorous antics (yeah, Fatlip) were toned down. Perhaps greatest of all, this album was almost exclusively produced by Jay Dee (the artist later known as J. Dilla) and Diamond D, which gave it more of an East Coast feel. If you don't have this one in your iTunes collection, get familiar.

Like most groups, The Pharcyde succumbed to typical industry infighting and bullsh*t, and eventually split up, only rejoining (with a couple of members missing) for subsequent albums that sounded rushed, and lacked the cohesion of their first two classic albums. Nonetheless, Imani, Bootie Brown, Fatlip, and Slimkid3 will always be part of the soundtrack of my college experience.

Here's a few of my favorite Pharcyde tunes.

"Passin' Me By"

"Passin'" is still probably the group's best known song, and one of their first singles. I honestly never cared for this one much, but it still gets radio spins today.

"She Said"

"She Said" is actually my favorite Pharcyde song. Seriously, what's not to like? The self-produced beat (and its "Amsterdam" remix) is amazing, especially the understated piano loop. The singsongy lyrics and subject matter, which any dude can relate to, are on point. And of course, there's this Fantasy Island parody video, which has some very nice, uhhh... "scenery". Nuff' said.


"Runnin'" is yet another J. Dilla masterpiece, incorporating a not-so-famous sample to make a classic tune. Labcabin never reached the commercial heights of the debut albut, but this was likely its most memorable track, and it also still gets spins today.


"Drop" was a nice track, but the video is more notable. Man, is this amazing or what?

Question: What's your favorite Pharcyde tune? Whatever happened to the rap "Group"?

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