Review : The Pharcyde - Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde: Expanded Edition
BbcIn the early 1990s, west coast hip hop was, from the outside looking in, dominated by gangsta rap. The vibrations from N.W.A.’s Straight Outta Compton were still being felt; Ice-T’s O.G. Original Gangster album was huge; and 2Pac began his commercial ascent.
But Los Angeles-based foursome The Pharcyde presented a different sound, as inspired by jazz as it was characterised by crude but colourful humour. Murder is never the case – unless the slaying’s a metaphorical one, a few inspired put-downs towards someone else’s mother.
The lineage of the group’s 1992 debut, Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde, surely features A Tribe Called Quest’s jazz-flavoured second LP The Low End Theory, released in 1991 and, says ATCQ’s Q-Tip, partially inspired by N.W.A.’s …Compton masterwork. That might align The Pharcyde with gangsta rhymes on rap’s family tree. But one listen to Bizarre Ride… is all it takes for its individuality to leap out.
A respect for jazz musicians is apparent – Herbie Mann, John Coltrane and Donald Bryd are amongst the sampled artists – and J-Swift’s production encompasses classic soul sounds, too. The results are regularly well-layered, the listener enveloped in a soundworld that shifts at its own pace. Tracks are allowed to stretch, regularly breaking the five-minute barrier....full text
AllmusicThe cover shot of a Fat Albert-ized Pharcyde roller coasting their way into a funhouse makes perfect sense, as the L.A.-based quartet introduced listeners to an uproarious vision of earthy hip-hop informed by P-Funk silliness and an everybody-on-the-mic street-corner atmosphere that highlights the incredible rapping skills of each member. With multiple voices freestyling over hilarious story-songs like "Oh Shit," "Soul Flower," the dozens contest "Ya Mama," and even a half-serious driving-while-black critique named "Officer," Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde proved Daisy Age philosophy akin to De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest wasn't purely an East Coast phenomenon. Skits and interludes with live backing (usually just drums and piano) only enhance the freeform nature of the proceedings, and the group even succeeds when not reliant on humor, as proved by the excellent heartbreak tale "Passing Me By." The production, by J-Sw!ft and the group, is easily some of the tightest and most inventive of any hip-hop record of the era. Though Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde could have used a few more musical hooks to draw in listeners before they begin to appreciate the amazing rapping and gifted productions, the lack of compromise reveals far greater rewards down the line....full text
HiphopdxIn honor of the 20th anniversary of The Pharcyde's acclaimed debut album, Bizarre Ride II: The Pharcyde, Delicious Vinyl Records (in conjunction with Get On Down Records) are releasing a special deluxe box set re-packaging of the LP, with all vinyl singles.
The Record Store Day promotion is said to be "extremely limited" and will feature the remastered 2CD album (with extras), seven 7" vinyl singles with recreation covers, a poster, previously unreleased music, vintage photos, expanded liner notes and a puzzle....full text
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