The Pharcyde
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The Pharcyde


Band Hip Hop Hip Hop


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"Plain Rap Review"

Plain Rap Review

07/13/2005 6:58 AM, AMG

In late 2000, the Pharcyde resurfaced for their first major release since 1995. Having lost the lazy-flowed Fat Lip to a solo career, the original trio of Slim Kid Tre, Imani, and Booty Brown were left to carry the torch. The L.A. underground artists put forth a classic album with their debut Bizarre Ride... in 1992 and followed up with the superbly crafted but somewhat maligned LabCabincalifornia in 1995.

While the various pitfalls of the industry claimed the quartet's unity, the core three came back with a bittersweet vengeance, lamenting past failures and frustrations but looking ahead positively as only the Pharcyde can. The album offers 11 one-word-titled tracks, sort of a rap version of Miles Davis' Aura, each track creating a specifically colorful mood. "Trust" testifies to the crew's resilient style, unwavering in theme and quality: "When it seems there's no one trust/You can always count on Pharcyde to bust." "Somethin" and "Misery" feature the subtle stylings of Slim Kid Tre and both Imani and Booty Brown employ strong spoken word-influenced poetics throughout. While the heft of the Pharcyde sound is diminished slightly by their broken circle, this is an emotionally tangible album that combines delicate content with tight production. The Pharcyde attempts to bring a ray of Cali sunshine to dark times. ~ M.F. DiBella, All Music Guide - AMG

"Humboldt Beginnings Review"

Humboldt Beginnings Review

07/13/2005 7:29 AM, AMG

Whittled down to only two original members, Imani Wilcox and Bootie Brown (aka Romye Robinson), the Pharcyde embraced the immensely soothing aspects of weed for fourth album Humboldt Beginnings. This 22-track record, leavened with the contributions of new members Spaceboyboogie X and "Greg" Smooche, begins with a bongo-led jam called "Homegrown" and benefits from a raft of workmanlike productions. In the Pharcyde's attempt to crawl back into the hip-hop limelight, though, they scatter their efforts working in a variety of styles. The frequent weed songs are interspersed with club thumpers ("The Uh-Huh"), smooth '80s-influenced lovers tracks ("Knew U," "Right B4"), and one of the most hilariously overblown gangsta tracks (perhaps humorous?) ever performed ("Bongloads II"). ~ John Bush, All Music Guide - AMG

"Cali Comm Tour"

The Pharcyde, nominally the headliners though most groups played about the same amount of time, also used a few live musicians, but in a more relaxed manner. In fact, everything about the group's set seemed laidback and playful, especially the MCs' stage demeanor. The Pharcyde as a group has changed greatly over the years, mutating from a ultra-goofy, highly weeded young quartet into a more serious, thoughtful trio which, on their recent third album Plain Rap, added a dose of soul music to their sound. At this show, the Pharcyde was down to a duo -- Imani and Bootie Brown -- plus a guitarist, bassist and keyboardist. They played a variety of songs, including both their two biggest hits ("Passin Me By" and "Runnin'") and several lesser-known songs from throughout their discography. While on album the group seems to grow ever more introspective, on stage they mixed it up more, continually alternating between the serious ("Bullshit" ) and the silly ("Ya Mama", "Pack the Pipe"). At times the latter seemed like their dominant motivating force, like when one of the pair dedicated two songs to "girls who wear sexy panties". As the closing act to a night jam-packed with music, the Pharcyde's light style fit perfectly, sending fans home with a smile. -


Bizzarre Ride II The Pharcyde
Plain Rap
Testing The Waters
Humboldt beginnings



The legendary PHARCYDE has returned. It’s been over a decade since their debut album, and the groundbreaking group continues to shine – surviving a ride so bizarre it could only lead to their latest success, Humboldt Beginnings. This new release matches the creativity and talent evident at Pharcyde’s beginnings with fifteen years of honed musical passion and maturation.

The band emerged on the hip hop scene in 1992 with Bizzare Ride II the Pharcyde, on the Delicious Vinyl label. The Californian quartet, consisting of Tre “Slimkid” Hardson, Romye “Booty Brown” Robinson, Derrick “Fatlip” Stewart, and Imani Wilcox came together to form a totally new voice in hip hop. The group broke the West Coast gangsta rap mold of its time, producing rhymes and beats that narrated hilarious skits, clownish antics, and stoned perceptions.

"The group writes 'skits' instead of songs, drops references to everything from singing cartoon rodents ‘The Chipmunks’ to jazz visionary Thelonious Monk, and spices the mix with lounge-style piano breaks and chants," wrote Neil Strauss in Spin magazine.

The Pharcyde’s unique style of rap, light-hearted lyrics and diverse sound quickly established them as a potent hip hop force among fans.

Bizzare Ride kept their growing fan base hooked for three years before the release of a much anticipated sophomore album, “LabCabinCalifornia”. Unleashed in 1995, this album made evident the growth of a band that had endured the realities of the music industry and fame.

"Devil Music," from LabCabinCalifornia, contains perhaps the most quoted Pharcyde lyric of any. It reflects the damage that the music industry can do to the spirit: "Every time I step to the microphone / I put my soul on two-inch reels that I don't even own." Such insights color much of the album.

LabCabinCalifornia manifested a stronger lyrical content, and showed the rap world that the Pharcyde were not just the playful cats on Bizarre Ride II, but musicians growing and exploring their talents. The Pharcyde ventured into a jazzier, more sophisticated sound, using a number of different producers. The first single, “Runnin’”, experimented with Brazilian jazz guitar and finessed vocals in the chorus. The album not only displayed the Pharcyde’s abilities as clever lyricists, but also as gifted musicians dabbling in the worlds of both hip hop and jazz. The album was well received by critics and widely acknowledged for its demonstration of talent progression in three years. More importantly, it was a telling glimpse of what was to come.

In 1997, the ride really did get bizarre. On the heels of completing their third album, Plain Rap, and in the middle of enjoying the fruits of labor as struggling artists who had impacted the world of hip hop, Fatlip decided that he would pursue a solo career. Plain Rap was released in 2000 on Delicious Vinyl and was the last album the quartet would complete together. It was not long after Fatlip’s departure that Slimkid followed suit. This left the remaining members of the group, Booty Brown and Imani, to take stock of their emotional, musical and financial situations.

In a previous interview with True Magazine, Imani said, “You can have four perspectives and four different reality checks. With solo acts it’s so much easier to get caught up in so much shit. We have each other’s reality check.”

As always, Imani and Booty Brown clung to and focused on the Pharcyde recipe that had repeatedly delivered success, this time under a new record label, Chapter One. The winning formula was to retreat into the studio for a few years, lose themselves in the music, push boundaries, and hustle like they’d never seen a record deal.

The Pharcyde is continuously performing and traveling the globe on tour, giving their fans the same beats to move their heads to, and mental nutrition that has fed their success.

The end result of all this hard work is a band that still influences the hip hop sounds crowding our radio waves today. The new ride for The Pharcyde revs up with their recently released Humboldt Beginnings, once again establishing the duo as key players in the genre. The album takes fans down memory lane with the same vibe and fertile lyrics from the Pharcyde’s past classics. It pays homage to the group’s favorite plant, and even provides a recipe for “special brownies” on the inside sleeve of the CD!

Imani and Brown display their abilities to carry on the Pharcyde name in its original fashion, seducing their audience with the same boyish charm that founded them at the beginning, now combined with the knowledge that has been bestowed upon them as men who have taken on the rap game. Humboldt Beginnings has repeatedly been described as an album before its time. Its layered beats and production style leave all fans hopeful of what lies ahead for the group.

"We’re building on the sound we’ve created," Imani vows. "Our music is innovative and creative!"