a willfully weird vision. “Passing Me By”
Nothing measures success more accurately, than longevity.
In the early 90’s, when gangsta’ rap consumed the airwaves, and the majority of West Coast
rappers strapped on their Locs, Chuck Taylor’s & Ben Davis’, The Pharcyde decidedly maintained
a willfully weird vision. Opting to stay true to themselves with their left field but still South-Central
sensibility, rap had seen few groups so self-deprecating and so smart, four visionary rappers
adroitly able to split the difference between helium-voiced and hard-core.
Listening to “Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde” decades after its release, its sense of timeliness is
unmistakable. Every song on the album inverts a hoary hip-hop cliché. With classics like “Oh
Shit,” “Otha Fish”, “Ya’ Mama,” and hit single, “Passing Me By,” it is not surprising that it
shipped over a million units, garnered comparisons to De La Soul and Tribe Called Quest, and
everyone from Pitchfork Media to The Source has hailed it as one of the greatest albums ever
“Labcabincalifornia” has revealed exactly how far-reaching The Pharcyde’s vision was. From
enlisting a young, and then unknown James Yancey aka J DILLA to produce beats, the classic
“Runnin” to collaborating with director Spike Jonze on the video for “Drop,” their vision has
consistently reinforced their steadfast refusal to tread familiar artistic grounds.
Today, The Pharcyde is still performing and touring the globe. They continue to hone their
individual projects and abilities yet carry on the name & legacy in its original fashion. Imani and
Bootie Brown still seduce their audience with the same high energy & boyish charm that founded
them at the beginning.
The end result of all this hard work is a band that’s still influencing the hip hop artists and sounds
crowding our radio waves today and will continue to for many years to come.