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February 29, 1996 - Image 15

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-02-29

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The Michigan Daily - Wda44, 44 . - Thursday, February 29, 1996 - 5B

Pharcyde's latest album a step away from group's'Bizarre' past

By Kimberly Howltt
Daily Arts Writer
The Pharcyde, a group of charis-
atic MCs with a sense of humor,
ave been proving that their serious
skills on the mic extend far beyond
the studio. Slimkid 3, Fatlip, Imani
and Romey (Bootie Brown) definitely
know how to rock it live. Plus, these
dudes can dance.
The Pharcyde's first album, "Bizarre
Ride II the Pharcyde," which won the
respect of the hip-hop world and be-
yond, sounded like a bunch of rowdy
ds with cartoon-like personas, rhym-
i. g hilarious stories over twisted beats.
They had rhymes that everyone could
relate to, and hype beats that everyone
couldn't help but bob their heads to.
The Pharcyde seemed to virtually ex-
plode onto the scene. They were slap-
happy funsters, loopy pranksters, and
most importantly they didn't take them-
selves too seriously..
Three years later the Pharcyde re-
Iased their second album,
"Labcabincalifornia." This time, the
hyper kids had matured. They let us
know that they survived the hassles of
the recording industry, and they are
coming back wiser.
The Pharcyde used to reside at the
infamous Pharcyde Manor, theirformer
house and studio. However, things got
rowdy, and they decided to move to a
calm, secluded new studio/house, the
Labcabin', in upper-middle-class Los
*liz, Calif. The transition between en-
vironments is reflected in the music on,
their latest album.
When asked if that was the plan -
new studio, new sound - Imani said,
"There wasnoplan." His partnerRomey
agreed, "Yeah there was no plan, that's
just how it went down, you can't plan
things like that."
Even when there is a plan, plans tend
change. According to the band,
Wabcabincalifornia" was originally
supposed to be called "Revelations."
Romey explained, "Special Ed got the
title first ...We were gonna do Revela-
tions, we were gonna say different
things. It was a whole different con-
cept. (But) ... it wasn't like that, (and)
we just decided to call it
When Romey heard that Vibe maga-
zine compared this album musically to
*rly Sly Stone and mid-career Stevie

my own band together actually. I don't
know, it's not like no particular one
person I would like to work with," he
explained. "Yeah, it's easy to say you
wanna work with somebody, but it
takes a lot of practice and stuff. It
takes a lot of time. People just wanna
hook shit up, and think it's gonna
automatically work, but it's not like
that all the time."
There's been talk of the Pharcyde
hooking up with the Hieroglyphics crew.
Romey said, "Yeah, you always talk
about it a lot, as far as being with your
people, you always talk about doing
stuff together, but the timing is kinda
hard, you know what I'm sayin'. Like
being out on tour and everything and
everybody's got different schedules, so
it's kinda hard to do that kinda stuff."
Imani and Romey agree that being
on tour can get kind of tiring. But the
Pharcyde maintain their sense of hu-
mor. At the L.A. show, Fatlip even
performed the entire set in nothing
but a Speedo and a down vest.
They also agree that one ofthe dopest
things about being on tour is that it's
like a nationwide record shop hunt.
Even though Imani admitted, "I haven't
bought any old records in a while. But
I'm about to go make a purchase of the
Fugees album and the Goodie Mob,
'cause they got some fat shit."
The Pharcyde released an incredibly
innovative video for their second single
"Drop." Directed by music-video wiz-
ard Spike Jonze, "Drop" breaks the
tired mold of the typical hip-hop house
party video.
"It was cool (working with Spike
Jonze)," Romey explained, "because
he knew what he wanted to do, you
know what I'm sayin'. There wasn't a
lot of time wasted. He was like 'yo, you
guys gotta do this,' boom boom boom,
you know what I'm sayin'."
The Pharcyde filmed the entire
video while performing their actions
backwards. The final footage is actu-
ally played backward so that the band
looks like they are moving forward
while their surroundings are moving
in reverse.
The band even learned to say their
lyrics backwards, so when the tape
was played backwards their mouths
looked right.
"We had a linguist for about three
or four days, so yeah, we had to kinda
learn everything backwards with the
rhythm," Romey explained.
But don't let all this innovation make
you too dependent on the Pharcyde for
fresh hip-hop. Even with all their suc-

cess and support, the band claims that
they are only going to put out three
"Yeah, we're gonna put out some
more music before the last album. But
we're really gonna concentrate on mak-
ing three albums," Imani explained.
"We might make four, but I'm saying
we're not gonna be making a gang of
albums. We're not gonna have like 10
Pharcyde albums. You might get five.

All hope is not lost, however. The
Pharcyde started out as professional
breakdancers, and it's in their blood to
keep performing. What's next for the
"We're gonna just elevate. Keep
building, creating and keep elevating
You never know'what'll happen in the
future," Imani laughed. "I just know
politics sucks."

No, the Pharcyde members are not really attached at their heads. They just
thought it would make a cool photo. Clockwise from left are: Sllmkid 3, Fatlip,
Bootle Brown and Imani.

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Wonder, he paused in amazement.
"Damn, that's kinda cool," he said. "I
never heard that before, that's my first
time ever hearing that. That's pretty
deep, pretty damn deep."
Hip-hop in 1995 saw tons ofcollabo-
rative projects. Almost every album
had at least one track with old homeys
dropping a couple of rhymes and show-
ing theirsupport for one another. (Some-
times it made you wonder if it was
because there's a slew of MCs who
can't stand on their own.)
The Pharcyde's first album, "Bizarre
Ride i the Pharcyde," included an ap-
pearance from beat-master L.A. Jay.
He was responsible for the slow, me-
lodically eloquent remix of Otha Fish.

When asked if they plan on working
with L.A. Jay for remixes on this album
Imani explained,"Aww maybe. He ain't
always around, so we don't know. He
has a project going on, him and Tre,
they was working with Brian Austin
Even without the help of L.A. Jay,
the Pharcyde have produced a second
album that is musically moody, with
echoing guitars, trippy chimes, and
strong, hip-hop bass beats. And unlike
many of their contemporaries' attempts
at collaboration, "Labcabin"' is strictly
the Pharcyde.
In the future, however, Romey said
he would like to work with people
outside of hip-hop. "I want to piece


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