I completed my fourth advanced manuals speech for Toastmasters at CSUSB, and my fifth speech objective is about bringing a story to life. The story could be about anything, and I decided that I’m going to speak about my favorite and the most underrated group in Hip-Hop: “The Pharcyde.”
The Pharcyde consists of MCs/Producers Imani, Bootie Brown, FatLip and Slimkid Tre. They are an alternative Hip-Hop group from Los Angeles, CA. Imani, Bootie Brown and Tre were dancers who met in the LA Underground circuit in the late 80s. As a trio, they danced on the show “In Living Color” in the 90s.
FatLip was also performing at local night clubs in LA and hooked up with the others and became a member of the group in 1990.
In 2010, I was at California State University, Long Beach and I came across an in-depth interview with Imani and to me it was The Pharcyde’s own “Behind the Music.” When I perform my next speech, I’m going to use most of my material from this interview. Check out part one of Imani’s interview here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CABqCmqNglU&t=114s
I’m also going to use different interviews I came across throughout the years from other Pharcyde members.
Under mentor Reggie Andrews (High School music teacher and wrote “Let it Whip” by Dazz Band), the group learned about the music industry and the process of recording an album.
They eventually landed a record deal with Delicious Vinyl in 1991, and in 1992 they released their classic debut album, “Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde,” which went gold. The Pharcyde became a household name in the world of Hip-Hop after their debut album was released, and Hip-Hop group A Tribe Called Quest called them at their house to congratulate them on their success.
According to Bootie Brown, Hip-Hop artists Wu-Tang Clan and Redman also showed appreciation for their work. For instance, Imani said Redman was on the TV show “Yo! MTV Raps” and he had Pharcyde stickers all over his body. None of The Pharcyde members met Redman at the time, but the love Redman showed them was appreciated.
In 1995, they released their second album “Labcabincalifornia,” which was confident, smooth and witty compared to their Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde album, which was upbeat, playful and humorous. They enlisted Hip-Hop producer “Jay Dee” (J Dilla), and he produced most of the album. The album is a lot more laid back compared to their debut, and according to Tre, they tried to make their version of A Tribe Called Quest’s “The Low End Theory.”
Their second album didn’t sell as well as their debut, but is now considered a classic by fans and critics because it still sounds relevant, even in 2017. Labcabincalifornia is one of my favorite albums of all-time and they probably made the most creative music video ever with “Drop.” You can check out the “Drop” video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQlvSpPuWdo
After their Labcabincalifornia album, the group went through some creative differences and FatLip left the group to pursue his solo career. The Pharcyde was back to being a trio and released a few songs on movie soundtracks (Good Burger, The 6th Man, etc.), an EP entitled, “Chapter One: Testing the Waters,” and an album in 2000 entitled, “Plain Rap.”
With Plain Rap, I noticed the circle of four that was The Pharcyde was broken because FatLip was absent. The album was still enjoyable, and the essence of what made The Pharcyde great was still present on each track.
After Plain Rap was released, Tre left the group to pursue a solo career leaving Imani and Bootie Brown to carry on the torch. They released their album entitled, “Humboldt Beginnings” in 2004. During this time, Imani and Bootie Brown performed shows as The Pharcyde and according to Imani, the fans would say, “Y’all ain’t The Pharcyde!, where is FatLip!, where is Tre!.”
Imani explained this was a dark time for him because fans didn’t know the whole story of why the group was divided with Imani and Bootie Brown performing together and FatLip and Tre performing together. Imani approached Bootie Brown and suggested they should change their name to “The Cyde” because the fans know The Pharcyde as a four-man crew.
Bootie Brown quickly shut that down and said Pharcyde is his last name because of all the hard work he put in over the years to help build The Pharcyde brand.
In 2008, I became a fan of The Pharcyde and they instantly became my favorite Hip-Hop group after hearing Labcabincalifornia. Check out my connection with The Pharcyde here: http://www.calmandstrong.net/music
The group reunited for the Rock the Bells festival, and when I saw The Pharcyde back together performing. I had hope that maybe they could vibe together again and possibly make another album. The reunion was short lived because they broke up again. In the interview with Imani, he said the group should have come out with an album first, then joined the Rock the Bells roster. He explained Rock the Bells was like a magic wand because during the tour they made a lot of money.
In a separate interview with the whole group, the interviewer asked if they were going to work on another album and Imani said that they needed a producer to help them put the album together (J-Swift produced most of Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde and J Dilla produced most of Labcabincalifornia).
While they were touring and letting the world know that they were back together. FatLip decided he didn’t want to rap anymore. Now The Pharcyde was back to being a trio once again, and shortly after Tre left the group. They were split again with Imani and Bootie Brown performing as The Pharcyde and FatLip and Tre performing as Bizarre Ride with other affiliates.
The Pharcyde is the most underrated and underappreciated Hip-Hop group because they have the most talent that never got to reach their full potential. They only had two albums as a fully functioning group of four. In my opinion, there is no other Hip-Hop group that could rap, sing, dance and produce their own music.
If The Pharcyde would have released as many albums as A Tribe Called Quest. I believe they would be in a lot more top 10 Hip-Hop group lists.
In 2017, The Pharcyde is still divided and one of my goals as an inspirational speaker is to help get the group back together by showing them how much they helped me within my personal life after I had to get my right leg amputated. Within my CalmandStrong PowerPoint Presentation, I have The Pharcyde’s “Clouds” and “Runnin’” songs embedded. Along with Nas, The Pharcyde help tell my story through their inspirational lyrics.
I love all four members of The Pharcyde equally, but if I had to choose a favorite Pharcyde member, it would be Bootie Brown. I think he is underrated, not just in his group, but as a lyricist in general in Hip-Hop. I feel he gets over looked, and I feel the same way in the profession that I’ve chosen.
In my opinion, you know it’s an official Pharcyde song when you hear Bootie Brown’s high pitched vocal tone voice. To see what I’m talking about, check out their song “Passing Me By,” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjsPG0Kspxo
I pray that one day, The Pharcyde could bless the world again with their talent and create another album.
From a loyal Pharcyde fan,
- Darryl C. Richie
* I think The Pharcyde working with Exile (Blu & Exile) will be a perfect match because his jazz-soul style production is like J Dilla’s, and he’s also from Southern California.
* March 15th was the last meeting for Toastmasters at CSUSB before the quarter ends, and I ended the meeting on a good note as the interim President. I have plenty of time to perfect my speech, and I’m excited to speak about my favorite Hip-Hop group. Toastmasters at CSUSB will resume April 5th.
* I haven’t heard anything from Blackbox Connect yet about the application I submitted on March 7th. I’m hoping to hear something next week.
I don’t own any image or video content from The Pharcyde. No Copyright Intended. All image and video content is copyright to their respective owners.
The Pharcyde image courtesy of Delicious Vinyl
The Pharcyde Image. Digital image. Delicious Vinyl. Delicious Vinyl, n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2017. http://deliciousvinyl.com/artists/the-pharcyde/
Pharcyde’s Uncle Imani Interview courtesy of HipHopMaverick from YouTube.com.
Pharcyde's Uncle Imani Interview Pt. 1. Perf. Imani . Pharcyde's Uncle Imani Interview Pt. 1. Www.YouTube.com, 21 Oct. 2010. Web. 17 Mar. 2017. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CABqCmqNglU&t=114s
The Pharcyde’s “Drop” music video courtesy of 77ChiefRocka from YouTube.com.
The Pharcyde "Drop". Dir. Spike Jones. Perf. Imani, Bootie Brown, FatLip and Slimkid Tre. The Pharcyde "Drop". Www.YouTube.com, 27 July 2010. Web. 17 Mar. 2017. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQlvSpPuWdo
The Pharcyde’s “Passing Me By” music video courtesy of Rodrigo Ignacio Underiapground from YouTube.com.
Pharcyde - Passin' Me By. Perf. Imani, Bootie Brown, FatLip and Slimkid Tre. Pharcyde - Passin' Me By. Www.YouTube.com, 22 Apr. 2011. Web. 17 Mar. 2017. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjc9f5dmgWM
The Pharcyde’s Interview courtesy of ughhdotcom from YouTube.com.
Pharcyde - Interview Pt. 2 (Live At Rock The Bells - Mansfield, MA - 7/26/08). Perf. Imani, Slimkid Tre and FatLip. Pharcyde - Interview Pt. 2 (Live At Rock The Bells - Mansfield, MA - 7/26/08). Www/youtube.com, 12 Apr. 2009. Web. 17 Mar. 2017. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUG4c2z6G70
Slimkid Tre Interview courtesy of HipHopDX
Tardio, Andres. "The Pharcyde's Slimkid3 Recalls Recording "Bizarre Ride," Explains Breakup." The Pharcyde's Slimkid3 Recalls Recording "Bizarre Ride," Explains Breakup. Www.hiphopdx.com, 28 Aug. 2012. Web. 17 Mar. 2017. http://hiphopdx.com/news/id.20931/title.the-pharcydes-slimkid3-recalls-recording-bizarre-ride-explains-breakup#