There is something magical about that standard of classic 90’s hip-hop that felt as a golden era in innovation through sound. The movement of black power and awareness was starting to become more prevalent and a foreground element of sound. With The Pharcyde, the group consisting of Fatlip, SlimKid 3, Imani, Bootie Brown, J-Swift, L.A. Jay, Buckwheat, and Quinton on some aspect of producing or lyrical spitting.
The album which goes by the name Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde, by The Pharcyde, is a light hearted journey that was born into a gangsta rap era of hip-hop that switched the emotion behind direction and traded punches for jokes. At the time, The Pharcyde became this movement that felt in relation to something that would make you dance before it made you laugh out loud, but they essentially went hand in hand. The opening, “4 Better Or 4 Worse (Interlude)” is actually an interlude that leads a smooth jazz progression into “Oh Shit”, The Pharcyde’s first lyrical track.
The beat is recognizable for its instant booming bass and record scratches that reflect this nostalgia factor, tapping into the innocent early style of hip-hop. This is then where The Pharcyde switches the script as most of their topics include “brown-eyed bombshells”, “moms”, and “sex appeal”. The location of the record is important to showcase a contrast within the sound of The Pharcyde and other Los Angeles groups at the time. From NWA to The Pharcyde, there was something similar to their content, but in entirely different approaches.
Lyrically, The Pharcyde is care free, but their production is the real sense of what makes their music stand out in a crowd of different sounds. Putting the whole message together is the catalyst of making The Pharcyde feel iconic, especially with a track like “I’m That Type Of Nigga” where the percussion and the lyrical ability shift together to work within each other. Their selection is some of the more innovative in hip-hop as sampling was relied heavily on to form the backbones of these influential beats and grooves.
The synth keys are what makes The Pharcyde feel incredibly fresh though, making “Passin’ Me By” a bundle of flowers when compared to some of the music of the surrounding era. Especially when reaching the chorus that screams, “She keeps on passing me by” where the vocals are almost drained and feel incredibly natural. Which moves The Pharcyde into the final stages of the 16-track saga of that moves that golden-era sound into the modern day movement.