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The Pharcyde

The Pharcyde is an Alternative hip hop group from the West coast of the United States. The group was formed in South Central Los Angeles (now South Los Angeles), where the group's members grew up. The original four members of the group are Imani (Emandu Wilcox), Slimkid3 (Tre Hardson), Bootie Brown (Romye Robinson) and Fatlip (Derrick Stewart). DJ Mark Luv was the group's first DJ, followed by innovative Los Angeles producer J-Swift and then the late J Dilla (formerly known as Jay Dee). The group is best known for the hit singles "Drop", "Passin' Me By" and "Runnin'", as well as their first album, Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde.

In 2008, Fatlip & Tre Hardson rejoined Imani & Bootie Brown for the Rock The Bells tour. No plans for a new album have been announced.


1991–1996: Early Years

After a live performance of their song "Ya Mama" for Delicious Vinyl record executives, The Pharcyde signed a record deal with the label. "Ya Mama" was released as their first single in 1991.

The foursome, with producer J-Swift, recorded their first album Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde, released in November 1992. The album was highly acclaimed, and became one of the most praised and influential alternative hip hop albums of the 1990s. Sales were moderate-to-good and the album was certified Platinum by the RIAA in 1996. Their second single "Passin' Me By"' became a minor Billboard hit, peaking at #52 on the Hot 100. The song was later featured in the hit movie Big Daddy and was also a crossover Modern Rock hit. The song is now usually considered a golden-era staple and is the group's most well known song. The album featured only one guest MC, Bucwheed (known then as Buckwheat, formerly of the alternative hip hop group The Wascals) on the tracks "On The DL" and "I'm That Type of Nigga".

Problems between the group and producer J-Swift began during the recording of the debut. J-Swift left the group before completion of the album [which is why the final recording, "Otha Fish"', is produced by L.A. Jay and Slimkid3 and is the only song on the album not produced by J-Swift]. J-Swift started a crack habit, from which he is still trying to recover. A documentary, 1 More Hit, was made about his attempts to recover from his addiction and to regain his music career.

After the Bizarre Ride album was released, the group began touring with A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul, culminating with an appearance at the Lollapalooza show in 1994.

In 1995, The Pharcyde released their second album, Labcabincalifornia. The album received mixed reviews, due to a different musical direction from the light-hearted playfulness of their debut. The album included another big crossover hit, "Runnin'", peaking at #55 on the Billboard Hot 100. This single was later featured in the movie 8 Mile, as well as the More Music from 8 Mile soundtrack. Labcabincalifornia featured production from future super-producers Jay Dee and Diamond D. Album sales this time around did not fare as well, the group was not able to reach Gold status again. A music video for the song "Drop" was directed by Spike Jonze.

Problems grew between Fatlip and the other MCs after this album, resulting in his leaving the group. In a video interview with director Spike Jonze, featured on the bonus DVD from his solo album, Fatlip stated that he had started sniffing cocaine, the group tired of his actions and kicked him out. In the documentary 'Cydeways: The Best of The Pharcyde', while the group is performing in shows they still offer their support to Fatlip, telling the crowd that if they support Fatlip on his solo career then they support The Pharcyde and vice versa.


The group was largely missing from the Hip Hop scene between 1997 and 1999. The three remaining members returned in 2000 with an EP titled Chapter One: Testing The Waters.

The group released a full studio album later in 2000 titled Plain Rap. The album had a luke-warm reception, critically and commercially.

Soon after the release, member Slimkid3, now going by his birth name of Tre Hardson, left the group to pursue a solo career. In 2002, he released his first solo album titled "Liberation".

In the music video for the song 'Trust' (featured on Plain Rap), the rest of the group's disdain for Fatlip's departure is evident as he is portrayed as a sad faced clown, being constantly attacked in the video. Tre Hardson's animated self is shown to transform into a phoenix that flies away at the end of his verse, which can be interpreted as more of an acceptance of his departure from the remaining two members.

2001–2004: Humboldt Beginnings

With only two members remaining, Bootie Brown and Imani continued with the group name and released an album in 2004, Humboldt Beginnings. The album received even less attention critically and commercially than their last effort. This album introduced Schmooche and Spaceboy Boogie X as new members and Spaceboy Boogie X as producer to the group.

The album was released on the group's own indie record label, Chapter One Entertainment.

Post-Pharcyde Projects

Though Humboldt Beginnings is thus far the last Pharcyde album, its members have since been keeping busy with various contributions and projects. A compilation of The Pharcyde was released in 2005, titled Sold My Soul: The Remix & Rarity Collection, featuring a number of remixes and rare songs. Former member Fatlip released his solo debut in 2005, titled The Loneliest Punk, and Tre Hardson's second full length solo album SLIMKID3's Cafe was released on 4th April, 2006.

In late 2007, Tre toured with L.A. Latin-funk-hip hop band Ozomatli on their Winter Tour throughout the United States.

The Pharcyde and Souls of Mischief have collaborated together to form a group called Mighty Python and have since released a collaboration album titled Mighty Mighty Python. Recently production from the group has died down, but it was said by Imani in an interview that it is to be an ongoing project.

Fatlip and Tre Hardson have since reunited to perform on 'The Over 30, Dirty Old Men Tour' . Fatlip and Tre Hardson were featured in the song 'All I Want for Christmas (Is Somebody Else)' featuring St. Imey (formerly of The Wascals) and produced by J-Swift on Delicious Vinyl records.

On Delicious Vinyl's official Youtube page, it is said that more music from Tre Hardson, Fatlip, J-Swift and St. Imey are expected to be released early 2008. It also calls these artists the label's 'Dream Team'.

On April 22, 2008 it was announced that The Pharcyde would be reuniting for the annual Rock the Bells Festival Series. The first performance was Saturday, July 19 in Chicago.



Compilations and EPs


Year Song U.S. Hot 100 U.S. R&B U.S. Rap U.S. Dance Album
1993 "Passin' Me By" 52 28 1 6 Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde
1993 "Otha Fish" 35 Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde
1995 "Runnin" 55 35 5 Labcabincalifornia
1996 "Drop" 93 73 5 4 Labcabincalifornia
1996 "She Said" 30 46 Labcabincalifornia
2000 "Trust" 15 Plain Rap

External links


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