The Pharcyde was, for a while, my favourite hip-hop group. I was on board with Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde and Labcabincalifornia, the band's first two albums. A mate had hooked me up with them - nowadays we'd flick an email, share a link. Back then he recorded them to cassette tape and sent them to me - he'd picked them up in America when on holiday. He posted the dubbed copies to me. I listened to them in my car. Never thinking to get my own CD copies - but round and round these tapes went (as was the way). And those songs: Passin' Me By, Runnin', Drop, Otha Fish, Devil Music. Great songs.
I forgot about The Pharcyde for a while but at the time what I loved was the beats, the ideas - inventive rhyming with a cool, easy flow. And it sounded nice - it was fun. I loved Public Enemy but The Pharcyde was a step toward The Beastie Boys, De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest - different again, but a step more toward that - in terms of the music I was connecting with at the time.
And then I saw the video for Drop - the famous Spike Jonze-directed clip. In fact it was watching this collection of Spike Jonze music videos and assorted bits and pieces that reminded me of The Pharcyde. I'd had a few years off them - simply because I'd moved from a tape player to a CD player in the car. That was really the only reason.
I picked up a copy of Cydeways: The Best of The Pharcyde - basically it cherry-picks from those first two crucial albums. And I was in business again. A Pharcyde fan with music at his fingertips (by this stage it was a case of the CD being copied to iTunes for iPod use, rather than the archaic dubbing to cassette).
I rediscovered The Pharcyde and found they'd been using J Dilla before he was known as J Dilla. That was just one of the treats in rediscovering this band and its music.
Fatlip is no longer with the group, but as you'll see from this interview, founding members Bootie Brown and Imani are.
I don't know if it will be a must-see/must-experience gig - but I'm hoping it will be. It's their first time to New Zealand - it's a 2oth anniversary tour, celebrating that dynamic debut - and of course there'll be material from the band's other albums, solo and side-projects too, no doubt.
Live hip-hop doesn't always work for me - and I have fingers crossed that it doesn't go this way - but I'm genuinely interested/excited in seeing The Pharcyde push a few great tunes out from the stage.
And I have a double pass to Friday's Wellington gig to offer one lucky reader - here's the full list of tour dates.
So, if you'd like to win a double-pass to The Pharcyde in Wellington this Friday night at The San Francisco Bath House just write a comment below telling me why you think you should win. I'll pick the one I think is most deserving.
Meanwhile, anyone else excited about this gig? Any fans of The Pharcyde? Were you always a fan - or have you just got on board with their music recently? Maybe you were a fan but you think that it's just not The Pharcyde without Fatlip (I'm prepared to give them a chance). What are your favourite songs? What are you hoping to hear at the gig?
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