Back when hip-hop and jazz intersected in the early '90s, L.A.'s the Pharcyde were there. Their classic debut album, Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde from 1992 on Delicious Vinyl, is now available as an "extended edition."
While De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, Jungle Brothers, Black Sleep and Digable Planets were leading the jazz-hop movement on the East Coast, it was all about The Pharcyde on the West Coast.
Comprised of four rappers - Imani, Bootie Brown, Tre and Fatlip - the Pharcyde had a comic style, loose and breezy, fun but serious like on tracks like "Officer." The samples, courtesy of producer/keyboardist J-Swift, give Bizarre Ride its rich R&B sound - from Sly Stone, James Brown and Public Enemy to Quincy Jones, Roy Ayers and the Meters. On the single "Passin' Me By," there's a Hendrix snippet in the intro.
A major contrast to the heavier G-funk style coming out of of Los Angles at the time, the Pharcylde lightened things up with catchy songs like "Ya Mama," "It's Jigaboo Time," "Otha Fish" and "Oh Shit."
Also typical of the era, they made sure to extol the virtue of the chronic on back-to-back tracks - "Quinton's on the Way" (about their dealer) and "Pack the Pipe," which is named a "Blunted Hip-Hop Classic" in Pot Culture thanks to the lyrics, "The bud is just the tasty tantalizer / The bud not the beer 'cause the bud makes me wiser."
Disc 1 contains the original album. Disc 2 includes 10 instrumental or dub tracks. Disc 3 features multiple remixes of "Soul Flower," "Ya Mama," "Passin' Me By" and "Otha Fish," plus the B-side, "Pork," and a live medley recorded at Dodger Stadium.
The Pharcyde took three years to release their follow-up, Labcabincalifornia. The group gradually faded form the scene, despite occasional reunions and releases. But Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde will always stand out as one of hip-hop's greatest albums.