Tuesday, January 10, 2006

the pharcyde problem

My De La Soul post has sent me back to my hip hop albums in recent weeks. I don't hear much contemporary stuff that moves me but one of the absolute classics for me is The Pharcyde's 1992 debut album, "Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde", tight up there with "3 Feet High..." and "The Low End Theory".

The beats are great, the production is awesome and there's so much invention on every track. There's a real sense of them just trying every mad idea they've ever had... like having an obscene phone call in the middle of a track.

The Pharcyde - 4 Better Or 4 Worse

And therein lies the problem. When I first heard the track my ears were tickled straight away by the stereo-mental effect on the Rhodes. As the phone call started I remember just looking at the speakers going "no... no!...NO!".

Now, I know it's obviously deeply, DEEPLY wrong and I'm aware a lot of people find it all incredibly offensive. But I still think it's great! I love the way they go "OK, I think we've gone a little bit overboard..." They're obviously just chucking as many ideas as they can into the mix, dragging people in to freestyle, laughing at each others' jokes, moving on to the next thing!

The Pharcyde - Pack The Pipe

This is another great track, I love in the second verse when the vocals are doubled, another example of The Pharcyde chucking really original cool-sounding ideas into the mix.

The Pharcyde - Return of the B-Boy

... but they knew their history too! This track has the beat from "The Show" and all of the cliched lines are trotted out knowingly ("the debonair MC in the place to be / came to rock the B-Boys and the young laydees..."). Quality.

The story of The Pharcyde is the classic tale of a bunch of young friends making music together who fall out as they get older and more succesful, growing apart amidst bitter recriminations with a side-order of (alleged) drug abuse. Let's not go there, listen to the great songs they recorded and remember when hip hop was fun AND original!

Buy - Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde
Visit - thepharcyde.com to find out what they're up to now

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