THE PHARCYDE Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde (Delicious Vinyl)
This 1992 debut by West Coast hip hop quartet The Pharcyde has, in recent years, been crowned Kanye West’s favourite album of all time, which seems like acclaim enough to render further analysis pointless. Nevertheless… With its loose-limbed knit of soul, funk and jazz samples and rich seam of lewd and crude comedy rhyming, “Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde” is almost exactly the kind of record that De La Soul should have followed up “3 Feet High And Rising” with.
Opening interlude “4 Better Or 4 Worse”, with its limber blend of acoustic jazz and funk, confounds expectations borne of the album’s graffiti-strewn cartoon cover art, but less than a minute later “Oh Shit” introduces the band’s signature style, an old-fangled organic sample-built sound , crackly old-school aesthetic and good-natured, humorous, filthy rapping. The skit “It’s Jigaboo Time” warns of the face-losing perils of selling out, and for great swathes of “I’m That Type Of Nigga” the rapping takes a back seat to coiled loops and riffs. “If I Were President” is another of those jammy, jazzy interludes that could well have been developed further, and the smooth and synthy “Soul Flower” is presciently reminiscent of later, “AOI: Bionix”-era De La Soul. “Officer”’s “Funky Drummer”-powered comedic tale of driving licence violation rips into Public Enemy’s “Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos” both musically and lyrically, “Ya Mama” consists largely of competitive creative insults and “Passin’ Me By” morphs out of a scratchy interpolation of the opening of Hendrix’s “Are You Experienced?”. It all makes for an enjoyably diverting listen, albeit one that never threatens to ascend to the best-of-everything heights some claim for it.