DAR Hip Hop: The Pharcyde's Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde

By @CherchezLaPorsh 

1. 4 Better Or 4 Worse (Interlude)
2. Oh Shit 
3. It's Jiggaboo Time (Skit)
4. 4 Better Or 4 Worse 
5. I'm That Type Of Nigga 
6. If I Were President (Skit)
7. Soul Flower (Remix)
8. On The DL 
9. Pack The Pipe (Interlude)
10. Officer 
11. Ya Mama 
12. Passin Me By
13. Otha Fish 
14. Quinton's On The Way 
15. Pack The Pipe 
16. Return Of The B-Boy 

Since 1976 when Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five emerged as the first group in hip hop, it didn’t take long before groups would pop up everywhere. By the early nineties, hip hop had many notable groups in the genre. Public Enemy, Jungle Brothers, EPMD, A Tribe Called Quest and so many others were around, but they all seemed to be emerging from New York (or the East Coast), and sure California gave us N.W.A and The Dogg Pound (and maybe a couple others), but they were few and far between. 1992 would add a group to the roster that would be influential in bringing alternative hip hop to the West Coast. That group would call themselves The Pharcyde and the album would be “Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde”.

Although the group originally formed in 1989 as a dance number, by 1991 that would change. They would record their first demo and after hiring a manager who had also worked for De La Soul and Cypress Hill, the group got some much needed recognition and got signed to Delicious Vinyl that same year. By 1992, fans would get the highly acclaimed debut and The Pharcyde would be regarded as one of the best groups out of the West.

Today, we’re taking a look at “Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde”. First we’ll look at production and then go through track by track with an overall rating and best verse/bars as well as album strengths, weaknesses and the overall album rating. Let’s get right into it.

The credit for most of the production on this album goes to J-Swift, who put together the perfect samples from Marvin Gaye, Jimi Hendrix, Sly And The Family Stone and a few others with drum loops and live instrumentation to bring this soulful jazz infused album to life. This album gives us layers that only add to the simple and laid back lyrical gems that reminds us of a dash of ATCQ and a sprinkle of The Roots, but the best way to describe this album is fun. Although this is interlude/skit heavy, production on “Bizarre Ride…” is revered as one of the best and ranks it among legendary hip hop albums (Album art is reflective of the silly fun side of the group as well, with animated “Fat Albert” type artwork, it speaks to all of that).

Track by Track/Best Bars

*4 Better Or For Worse (Interlude)
At 38 seconds of pure instrumental, this is a fantastic way to start off the album. The ride begins and we hear everything, the drums are at the forefront and the soulful atmosphere is created. In under a minute and without speaking a word.


*Oh Shit
The first actual track on the album and the first intro we get to their fun, simple and humorous side. The hook is literally two words, but the way the four of them repeat it makes it sound a lot more intricate than it should be. Slimkid3 starts off the first verse in a children’s rhyme like way and Imani Fat Lip keep that going and create an impressively smooth flowing and perfectly transitioning song. The beat breaks are also perfectly timed and make the lyrics pop. These guys had fun and you can hear it throughout.

Best Lines:
“Little Sally Walker, sittin in a saucer/
Oh, how I tossed that ass up/
Like a mission in the woods/ Woody woodpecker would if he could/
But I didn't want to pass it up/
To the next man had my walkman bumpin on/
The fifty yard line and my adrenaline pumpin/”


*It’s Jiggaboo Time (Skit)
This is a whole entire mockery of the entertainment industry from the moment you sign a deal. While they keep it lighthearted, I love that they took a jab and sort of mocked the Caucasian influence in music, but the live instrumentation dominates so as much as the lyrics aren’t exceptional and there’s no real storytelling. This is short and very to the point and that is appreciated nevertheless.

Best Lines:
But we're all jiggaboos - in our owwwwwwn wayyyyyy/
So, might as well just get paid, and say, fuckit, y'know”


*4 Better Or 4 Worse
This track is an interesting one and was the third single off the album. It has a little of everything in a very “Pharcyde-esque” way. It’s fun for sure and the approach to their rap beginnings is amusing. “Rhymealinda” and “Tre” (Slimkid3) take us through their dynamic and do it in a way of a “marriage”, of course they keep the lyrics lighthearted so nothing of incredible depth and of course some more humor with the “phone conversation” in the third verse. If Pharcyde does one thing well, it’s remain consistent and use “out of the box” approaches and that’s what makes this track so great.

Best Lines:
“They'll be healthy like a health nut/ 
I'm sure you shake your butt/
(Kick the verse preacher) and I won't disperse/
Here's my life Rhymealinda for better or for worse/”


*I’m That Type Of Nigga
With James Brown and Sly & The Family Stone used as samples, we know we’re in for a treat. This track is just incredible with flow and energy. There’s a lot going on, but the head-bopping beat and quick witted lyrics keep listeners fully engaged. This might be the first track we actually hear them curse and talk about the “streets”, ass-kickings and the sort, but we also don’t expect them to. This schoolyard track is simply great because each member spits their verse and the references used.

Best Lines: 
“Well I am the nigga in charge over here/
Sack the quarterback to make a cheerleader cheer/
I fix my funk/ 
Like Thelonious Monk/”


*If I Were President (Skit)
What a fitting little skit for this particular time in the world. I love the heavy use of piano instrumentals as this is incredibly jazzy and is perfectly in line with the playful feel of the album. This is fun and a great addition to the tracklist.

Best Lines:
“If I was President (what would you do?)
I would not carry, oh no spare change/
I would just rearrange/
The whole government structure
Cause there seems to be something that's messing with the flucture of the money/
(What?) It's not coming to me/”


*Soul Flower (Remix)
Here’s a remix of a song that was never officially released. Here we have a track that is fitting for a group out of the west coast. It’s about weed and the continued repetition of “zig zag” would attest to that. The beat is the highlight. It’s perfect in every way and almost takes me back to a 70’s disco. As soon as the verse drops, it brings us back to present day. The wordplay and rhyme scheme is phenomenal. Each one of the four members does a verse and each brings their own laid back humour with them. This is yet another great track and such a signature of the Pharcyde.

Best Lines
Bootie Brown:
“But let me first introduce myself I'm tagging name romye/
I'm 20 years of age I ran across some bullshit/
People promise you bowl of cherries but don't forget there are pits/”

“In 92 we take cash 93 we take loot/
Because the vinyl is delicious/
I'm the nigga who's got bitches/
Michael Ross is the genie he's giving our wishes/”

“Souped on the beat like a bowl of chicken noodles/
I love spanish dishes but no I'm not menudo/
I can dig kung-fu I flip hoes like judo/”

“I go from skip-skop to hip-hop to be-bop to p-funk/
Cutting enough bullshit to turn a tree into a tree trunk/
Cause we've sunk ships from the pacific to the atlantic/”


*On The DL
This track is a little all over the place. The music starts off slow and the horns dominate and add a bit of a somber feel. A couple topics are addressed in each verse from “ego” to “masturbation” and “the killing of Imani”, this one is a bit all over the place. It’s a bit hard to follow and while this is the most serious Pharcyde will get, the topic choices are hilarious. This isn’t my favorite track on here and doesn’t do much for the tracklist.

Best Lines:
“He climbed in my window/
Grabbed me around the neck/
Said scream and you're dead/
I thought it was the devil/
'cause his face was glowin' red/
He was a brother/
But this brother had the devil in his eye/
He was out to get i-m-a-n-I”


*Pack The Pipe (Interlude)
Much like the introductory track, this is less than 30 seconds of an instrumental. I always appreciate the work of the producer, but this one is fleeting.

Here we have Pharcyde parody-ing Public Enemy. The Flava Flav impersonation and the first verse of course is taken from “Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos”, almost entirely. What Pharcyde does is spin it and make it hilarious. They are “caught” by officers for driving without a license and the pleading dialogue to the officer in the hook/chorus is funny to say the least. The funky baseline and the piano loop is great and pretty much carries the track.

Best Lines:
“Away to our destination/
No license no insurance, not even registration/
Tags on the plate say december '82/
Cars so dirty it looks gray, but it's really blue/”


*Ya Mama
If by this point in the album Pharcyde hasn’t convinced you that they’re just four silly dudes that chill all day and clown around, this track will leave you convinced. This is the first single from the album and it’s exactly what you think: a series of “yo mama” jokes (taken a little far) against a dope beat accompanied by some samples. These guys are great as they let the jokes fly and keep this fun for the listeners. This is exactly how I imagine it would be to hang out with them as it is pure comedy.

Best Lines:
“Ya mom is so fat (how fat is she?)
Ya mama is so big and fat that she can get busy
with twenty-two burritos”

“Awwwwwwww, ya mom is so fat (how fat is she?) 
We rode up on her back to get some burgers from Wendy's
and her skates went flat; I got stuck in her butt crack”

“Ya mama's glasses are so thick she look into a map
and see people wavin at her”


*Passin’ Me By
The second single released from the album and arguably the best song ever released by the group. I have to commend the track placement of this one because after having just heard almost five minutes of insults and jokes about their moms, we hear the sad tales of unrequited love. It’s cute, starting from the “younger days” and taking us through “graffiti-ing her name” and playing “truth or dare" with its mellow beat samples and relatable lyrics and this is easily a favorite.

Best Lines:
“But, all I can do is stare.../
Back as kids we used to kiss when we played truth or dare/
Now she's more sophisticated/ Highly edu-ma-cated/
Not at all over-rated, I think I need a prayer/”

“I guess a twinkle in her eye is just a twinkle in her eye/
Although she's crazy steppin, I'll try to stop her stride/
Cause I won't have no more of this passin me by/”


*Otha Fish
This is another perfectly placed song and the only one on the album produced by LA Jay. While every track we’ve heard up until this point has all the group members, this one is Slimkid3 on his own. It’s a solo cut about one sided love and further proves that these guys don’t need to rely solely on humor and wit to be regarded as great. The beat is not as mellow but still maintains (for the most part) the jazz/soulful infusion. I love Slimkid3's  flow but he adds a twist with his cabaret styled vocals. It’s different but it works and it’s great.

Best Lines:
“I reminisce, try to clear up all the myths/
For an imaginary kiss with you again/
Not even friends, though I wish that I could mend/
Like a tailor/
And be Olive Oyl's number one sailor/
I ams what I am, still I falls like an anvil/”


*Quinton’s On The Way (Skit)
This is a very unfiltered skit. It opens with the group talking about a previous track (Ya Mama) and going back and forth when suddenly their boy (weedman) Quentin agrees to meet up. We hear the conversation and we hear the joy. After back to back tracks about love and emotions, Pharcyde is back to their everyday shenanigans, so for that, this skit is needed (and is a perfect segue into the next track).

Best Lines:
“Quinton's on his way, Quinton's on his way
Quinton's on his way with another J and it's OK
Everything's OK”


*Pack The Pipe
A west coast hip hop staple, the ode to weed. The track starts off with “I dedicate this to buddha” and continues with each member taking us through their experience being high. The production is a little different, as it matches the whimsical feeling they explain being high. The lyrics are back to being fun and playful and it’s clear they had fun with this track.

Best Lines:
“And I'm falling
I'm falling
My heart rapid rushes/
Death before my eyes, oh why did I trust this/
My reactions are repeated
Over and over and over/
Oh it seems like I will never be sober/”


*Return of The B-Boy
This title is self explanatory. These guys are throwing it back to ’87 and everything works to make that come to life. The simplicity of the beat is impressive because it allows the guys to make this track pop with not a whole lot of help. We hear verses drop in the style of a montage and in the same vein as Slick Rick, Doug E Fresh, LL Cool J and all the influential rappers and most acclaimed songs of that era. I love that Pharcyde decided to do a track like this, it allows us to appreciate them and the pioneers.

Best Lines:
“Ah yes yes y'all, I got the fever for the flavor/
Of a beat y'all/
I stand tall gets raw like beef y'all/
I moo moo like a cow honey-child, or, ooh, ah one two/”

“The debonair MC, in the place to be/
Came to rock the b-boys and the young ladies/
Gonna rhyme on the microphone all night long/
So the party won't stop until the break of dawn/”

“Throw your hands in the air/
And wave em like you just don't care/
If you're sparkin blunts with clean underwear/
Somebody say, ohh yeahhhh! OHHH YEAHH!/
OHHH YEAHHH! And ya don't stop/
Yo, cause back in eighty-nine I was doin the wop/”


Album Strengths
The Pharcyde wanted to debut with an album that was light on lyrics, fun to listen to and had a soulful jazz sound that was appealing to wider audiences. They did that and they did it well. “Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde” showcased each member’s lyrical talent, high speed delivery, wit and wordplay perfectly. It opened subtly and got progressively better and remained consistent. It was a fantastic debut that left the stage open for future projects.

Album Weaknesses
The only weakness here is the overkill of interludes and skits. Most of which were unnecessary and added to the overall feel of the album, it can be viewed as filler to populate a tracklist more so than anything else. Unfortunately, as much as I like the piano, drums, horns and everything else, it didn't add anything significant to the final product.

Wrap Up
Initially, The Pharcyde set out to be an entirely different entity in the entertainment industry, but landed in hip hop and thank God they did. From their playful jokes to their sad tales of love and their ode to b-boys, in 1992 these four were the missing sound of the West Coast. “Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde” introduced them in a way that intrigued fans, hooked us and took us on a “ride” that only left us wanting more.

Overall: 8/10



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