The Pharcyde “Bizzare Ride II The Pharcyde” (3xCD Deluxe Edition) | Delicious Vinyl
If you were listening to the radio in the early 90′s, there was without a doubt a moment where your ears were graced with the majestic sounds of The Pharcyde’s “Passin’ Me By”. As one of Los Angeles’ most respected hip hop groups, The Pharcyde took inventive and 60′s and 70′s influenced production, heavily diverse styles of vocal approaches and a canvasing of their landscape that has proven its timeless quality over the last two decades. When I hear the tag alternative hip hop, I get offended as The Pharcyde was every meaning of the word hip hop, not an alternative of it. When the group released their debut album Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde in November of 1992, they brought a lot of respect to the perception of high quality art in the west coast hip hop community.
Certified Gold, The Pharcyde’s debut album is one of the most cohesive hip hop albums ever created. With a lot of gangster rap dominating the LA region, The Pharcyde were the flip side, bringing awareness of highly orchestrated lyricism, the joyous voice of hip hop’s foundations, illustrious beat work that contained John Coltrane, James Brown, Herbie Mann and many other influential 60′s and 70′s samples and an overall presence nobody has been able to capture. Subject matter from every song contains it’s dated elements but for the most part is universal and results in one of the best albums ever created. The Pharcyde have always took the raw essence of the streets and wrapped it inside a highly technical presentation of lyrics and beats under the sacred legacy of hip hop. Completely ahead of its time upon release in ’92, the album sounds as fresh as it did the day it came out. When we got word that the album was being prepared for an expanded 3 disc version, it became an item we worked very hard to obtain a copy for review on.
The Pharcyde’s lyrical deliveries are some of the most impressive, diverse and technical, using many different approaches from track to track. With the group containing four mc’s and everyone giving a unique vocal approach per song, it’s a really advanced approach to making a cohesive album and they do it with what sounds like ease. Originally pressed by Delicious Vinyl, the label has come all these years later to pay homage to a classic in Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde. The packaging in the newly expanded version has gone the extra mile with an expanded 3 disc release containing instrumentals, recollections on five of the tracks by producer of much of the Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde album J-Swift, full production notes and sample credits, b-cydes, remixes, rare photos of the group, all of the artwork for the promo and singles and the album in its entirety. This is the most comprehensive look into this classic LP and the packaging it comes in is just as impressive and representative of the album itself. When I opened the purple package after glancing over the original art from Slick X Den of Fuct Graphics and saw the contents inside, an overwhelming sense that hip hop is getting the justice in representation it deserves came over me.
Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde is one of hip hop’s most influential records from the 90′s and this expanded three disc version will please any fan of iconic works being reexamined for future generations after it was released. As one of my favorite hip hop records ever, it was a huge honor to get a copy of the expanded version by Delicious Vinyl for review. With audio restoration by Will C. and M. Samps, all levels sound perfect in this edition as the sonic mapping in today’s technology has improved a great deal since this album was being sold as a cassette in the early 90′s. When I first got my hands on the tape in my youth, I couldn’t stop rewinding the back to back selection of “Passin’ Me By” and “Otha Fish”. Unaware until now, the opening section of Jimi Hendrix’s “Are You Experienced?” is sampled and cycled through “Passin’ Me By”. It is this homage to past innovators that marks the fluorescent analog sound of the album and stands as one of the last pathways towards the legacy of music that used to stand as hip hop’s foundations. The skits are placed with a lot of attention to balance and highlight the free state of the group, showing them cut loose and act silly at times. It is these honest rest spots that give the album so much personality. With as much approach to technique that is refined, the group doesn’t allow that to get in the way of messing around on many of the skits.
“Passin’ Me By” had a huge radio presence on the west coast in the 90′s and it is without surprise that it was captured on an older analog board that according to J-Sw!ft in the liner notes was used by groups such as Earth, Wind and Fire and Prince. The remixes on the third disc shed a lot of light into how different this track could have been on the final album version. “Otha Fish” was produced by L.A. Jay and is one of the most classic songs in their entire catalog. The sample of “Today” by Herbie Mann in “Otha Fish” is incredible and truly caps the album off with one of the most transfixing grooves in hip hop history. The lyrical presence feels like stones skipping off water. It’s one of the greatest things I can think of when thinking about the era of hip hop I grew up on.
It’s been a long time since I have examined the production side of an album I have been used to hearing lyrics over. With the modern age converging into the highlight of the producer, hip hop lives in communities that love their beats and Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde is foundations for miles in this realm. Executive production and oversight by Michael (Mike Floss) Ross with production from J-Sw!ft, L.A. Jay and Slimkid 3 and co-production on a majority of the record from everyone in The Pharcyde, Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde’s instrumental sides are just as worthwhile as the album itself. The third disc examines b-cydes, unreleased tracks and many remixes to finalize the material that was floating around when the album was being made but didn’t make the final album cut. It’s the icing to the cake and one of the best parts is hearing how different their vocal approaches are for every remix track present. They are completely different from the originals and show a group who could mold and work their lyric presentations with some of the most diverse set of sounds. They were true mc’s and the productions highlighted the gift of producers who went the extra mile to craft the best head nodding beats ever.
The history of Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde is on a different plane of existence and Delicious Vinyl has presented the album in the best way possible, shedding new light on a classic record that truly defines an entire decade of west coast hip hop music. If you are looking for quality hip hop in an illustrious package, the expanded 3 disc version of Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde is a must purchase item.