Today’s Old Skool Review focuses on one of my favorite hip hop acts in college. Back when damn near everything coming out of Cali was Gangsta, a few cats from around the way decided to buck convention and put out one of the most “fun” CDs the game has ever seen, before or since. Calling themselves The Pharcyde, the quartet of Slimkid3 (aka Tre Hardson), Bootie Brown, Imani and Fatlip remain a killer combo to this day.
Hyperbole be damned, Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde remains one of the Top Ten Greatest Rap CDs of All-Time, as far as i’m concerned. Eschewing gang violence in favor of tracks about waiting for their weed dealer to show up, not only were the lyrics markedly different from what was out there, but their sound was unlike anything else, as well. They took a marked turn with their second LP, Labcabincalifornia, essentially introducing the world to LET God, J Dilla (though he was just Jay Dee back then). Around this time, of course, the band broke up, allegedly over drug issues with some of the members, though later interviews paint a rosier picture, allowing that they were all young kids dealing with huge fame who, along the way, took some missteps.
Though the line-up dwindled, a couple of more albums were dropped over the years, each with less critical and commercial love.
Fortunately for the universe, the boys in the band decided to let bygones be bygones and reconvened for the Rock the Bells tour back in 08. Periodically, both as individuals and as the full group, Pharcyde has been showing up on more and more guest spots. While they claim to be still feeling out the vibe, one can only hope a new joint is in the works. If that never happens, however, the body of work they’ve left behind thus far is mad crazy good. Kind of like the band itself.