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      Back From the Pharcyde

      Back From the Pharcyde
      As the alternative hip-hop album of the early 90’s that paved the way for a whole movement celebrated it’s 20th anniversary at the end of 2012, half of the original line-up who recorded it staged a special live tour. The band? The Pharcyde. The Record? Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde That anniversary show has been extended into this year and will be coming our way in July. Nick Malone chatted to SlimKid3 about The Pharcyde’s past, present, and future.

      Up until 1990, 3 out of 4 members that would eventually become The Pharcyde were not busy rapping, but dancing. Ss the gangsta
      rap movement grew tiresome and repetitive, they found themselves influenced by many other musical styles of the era. “I had a crazy little mix going on, musically. I would listen to my mother’s music, the Jacksons, The Isley brothers, you know. And then I had my own music, I liked a lot of new wave stuff; Tears for Fears, Culture Club, WHAM. I had a pallet, man! We were real serious about our dancing. We listened to house music as well. We could never fall into being gangsta rap whatsoever, not to mention we weren’t gangsta...”

      By the time Fatlip had joined up with the others and The Pharcyde had been born it was no surprise that their debut album, the now hip-hop classic ‘Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde’, was a fresh, upbeat, alternative sound compared to what had been coming before. The album went gold, and the song ‘Passin’ Me By’ has since become one of the most recognisable and loved in hip-hop history.

      By 1995 and their second release ‘Labcabincalifornia’, things had become a little less clownish production-wise and a little bit deeper lyrically. Working with them on production was a young James Yancey, better known as J Dilla or Jay Dee, the legendary beat master who passed away back in 2006 from a blood disease. Tre recalls how it came about and gives an insight into working with Jay Dee:

      “He was somebody that Q-Tip introduced to us. We were supposed to work with him but he was too busy, so he said, ‘I got this cat you need to meet, he’s got these beats and they’re pretty dope!’ So we were listening to some snippets and then ‘Runnin’’ came on and were like, ‘Oh s**t, we need that one!’ But he was a real cool cat, a little quiet at first. I remember we were mixing ‘Runnin’’ and Fatlip wanted to change the beat structure of it, and we’re like: ‘no way man’. We went to get something to eat and when we came back Fatlip had chopped that beat up like he wanted it. So me and Fatlip got into it, you know, it was real bad and Jay was like ‘I don’t want you to be fighting man, y’all are my favourite group. it’s cool we can have it the other way’. But I said no way, we’re doing it your way, and the rest is history basically.”

      Also from ‘Labcabincalifornia’ was ‘Drop’, the video for which was directed by Spike Jonze and was shot totally in reverse. “I thought Spike was awesome, man, great to work with. He was like ‘Oh hey guys, you think you wanna shoot this video in reverse?!’ and we were like: ‘sure!’. He brought in a linguist to decipher all of the lyrics backwards, So we had a tape that we had to study over and over, and then Spike put it in double and triple time to study it in slow motion. It was a lot of work. The result was a lot of detail, a lot of brains, but still something simple.”

      Over the course of the next 9 years, as original members left to pursue solo efforts and after 2 critically poorly received records, The Pharcyde were in danger of drifting into the status of hip-hop has-beens. That was until 2008 and a headlining slot on the renowned Rock The Bells touring festival. “It was a long time for us being around each other, you know. And there are just issues, things that we needed to talk about, hash out, things like that. What was very magical was our professionalism, and our respect and honour for the music that we made. When we hit the stage all of our problems just disappeared I swear to you, man. Everybody fell in sync, there wasn’t any ego going on, all the parts just really came together. It was magical to be honest with you”.

      Although things post Rock The Bells didn’t stay so great between the group, late 2012 saw the 20th anniversary of Bizarre Ride and a tour that is now continuing into 2013 and into the city of Liverpool this July. “It was meant to be one show at first, but when I flew down there and we rehearsed for the show everything just felt so right. It was like the vortex that opened up for us to make the Bizarre Ride album had opened up for us again for Bizarre Ride Live. Everything went so well that we just thought, let’s do some more shows. Liverpool is what’s up so it should be a great show.”

      SlimKid3 has a solo record coming out with DJ Numark of Jurassic 5 sometime soon, and the foundations for a new release from The Bizarre Ride are being laid also. “We already made a couple of songs. Personally, I want this out today, but that’s not how things are made, it takes a little time. We’re in the works man, we’re in the works...”

      You can catch Bizarre Ride Live at the East Village Arts Club on July 1st, tickets are on sale now.

      NICK MALONE ||