Hip Hop Legends : The Pharcyde

Bizarre Ride 2, also known as Kanye West’s favorite album of all time, still ‘keeps it original.’ The upbeat key arrangements and jazzy instrumentation display the lush and intense rhythmic melodies from J-Swit, who was inspired by greats such as James Brown, Donald Byrd, Quincy Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Roy Ayres and Marvin Gaye. Pharcyde’s singles are still highly relevant and have been featured in movies such as Adam Sandler’s 1999 Film Big Daddy and Eminem’s 2002 8 Mile. Bizarre Ride 2 has been listed on Pitchfork Media’s “Top 100 Favorite Albums of the 90s” and also in the 2005 publication “1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.”

Their song “Drop,” was so iconic, I can’t even put it into words. During the 90s as many know, music videos were over-the-top with complete luxury; not much different from today. Large sums of money aren’t always needed for a music video if you have a genius idea. Today it now stands as one of the most innovative rap videos ever made. The production was done by J Dilla and the direction was done by Spike Jonze, who later directed Where the Wild Things Are and Being John Malkovich. The making of the film was so rare; every member of the group agreed to learn their lyrics backwards within five days, perfecting their craft with a linguist, along with their movements so they would appear in sync in the music video.

“Runnin” was sampled on Run-D.M.C’s “Rock Box,” and in Wiz Khalifa’s 2009 “Name on a Cloud.” The film also appeared in 8 Mile, which I often heard growing up with my older sister’s Eminem obsession.

As many can remember, their sophomore album, Labcabincalifornia, released “Runnin” and “Drop.” “Trust” was released in 2000 off of their third album Plain Rap, and “Knew U” off Humboldt Beginnings in 2004.

Bizarre Ride 2 led the Pharcyde to become one of the first acts on the West Coast to sell a large number of albums, in the public eye they may have been overshadowed by other great west coast artists such as Dr. Dre for The Chronic and Snoop Dogg’s Doggystyle. However their work still doesn’t go unnoticed, their originality has inspired numerous great artists today like Kanye West. According to Ink Blot, they note Bizarre as “one of the most important records in the history of hip hop. It is the sound of black music’s past erupting in riot colour of excitement and possibility. It’ll make you dance, it’ll make you smile, it’ll make you wanna do it all over again.”

Their character and one of a kind laid back rap have been so influential in rap today. Thank you to Mike Ross, for signing them to Delicious Vinyl, twenty-seven years ago.

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