Review Summary: If your idea of Hip Hop is about fun and having a good time, then you should make sure you hear this record, one of hip hop's rudest and most fun records ever recorded.
There are many different opinions as to what Hip Hop should be, some believe it should be giving knowledge to black youth, some believe it is a chance for anyone to show off their showmanship, some believe that it is supposed to be fun music. Of course there are those who miss the point and don't see any use for it at all beyond teaching children to swear.
Its not up to me to decide what hip hop is for, but if it is supposed to be fun, then this record is the pinnacle of the genre. With cheeky lyrics, danceable samples and a general rude and cheeky vibe. The Pharcyde are great for a party, a smoke or a long walk. They will put a smile on the face of any fun loving B-Boy or B-Girl.
The Pharcyde are a great example of east meets west in hip hop. While the east coast experimented with jazz music and positive raps, the west coast had angry rude raps with tales of criminal activity. The Pharcyde had all the jazz of the east, and the rude rhymes of the west and NONE of the seriousness of either scene. With high pitched voices playfully insulting each other, bragging about their exploits and having the modesty to laugh at themselves. All set to a great positive musical backdrop.
The first proper song on the record is the excellent “Oh ***!” with it’s great chorus chant of “Oh ***! Ooooh ***!”. The lyrics concern how much the band enjoy sex, and describe their exciting yet impossible sex adventures. With many references to childhood memoirs and pop culture, such as
“Little Sally Walker, sittin’ in a saucer,
Oh, how I tossed that ass up
Like a mission in the woods, woody woodpecker would if he could,
But I didn't want to pass it up”
Pop culture references such as the ever popular Star Wars franchise
“Luke Skywalker ain't a sweet talker so I got ill
With my light sabre that came in one fancy flavour
My strange behaviour led to an outburst
The night felt good but the day got worse”
As you can tell, political correctness is not a concept The Pharcyde have any time for, or possibly even understand. They drop the N-Bomb at every chance, and don’t feel any embarrassment when saying exactly what’s on their mind when they are talking to the fairer sex. With so many groups playing it so safe, or being just as controversial, but lacking lyrical talent or the same sense of humour, this is very refreshing to hear.
The perfect example of just how cheeky The Pharcyde can get is the chuckle causing “Ya Mama”. I’m sure that by now you have guessed what this song is about, but for the benefit of those who are unaware of how people insult each other this side of the 1980s, it is generally a string of ridiculous descriptions of ya mama. Breaking off at the end with the band not even rapping, but just letting off a string of silly descriptions of ugliness, fatness and general distaste.
The following track is a heartfelt tale of unrequited love at high school, with descriptions of writing her name in graffiti, playing truth or dare and how she keeps on passing them by without noticing them. The mellowest track on the record, with its simple and memorable chorus and organ tune making it also one of the catchiest and memorable songs on the record.
The Pharcyde also have no problem upsetting the hip hop community, parodying the sacred untouchable that is Public Enemy
on the song “Officer”, the intro has an impersonation of Flavor Flav and the first verse is identical to that of “Black Steel in the Hour Of Chaos”. However, the rhyme substitutes a few of the words to suite their song
“I got a leeter from the DMV the other day,
I opened and read it, it said they were SUCKERS
They tried to tell me my license was suspended
I was offended”
The song is carried by a funky bass line and bebop piano loop, the song tells a narrative hardly comparable to the average tale of the ‘hood, with the group being arrested for driving without a license and a giggle inducing sample of the group pleading with the cop to let them off.
The Pharcyde would never make another record quite like this, although their sophomore record was enjoyable, J-Swift’s crack addiction proved to be too much for the group to handle for the production of their next record, and a less cheeky vibe than this dominates their latter work.
If you don't want to hear about what these perverted stoned teenagers would just love to do to your sister, then you might like to avoid this record. If you don't want to hear four rude teenagers bragging about the ridiculous crimes they have committed, and not in any way in a "I'm a strong black man taking what I need" kind of way, more like a "I'm poor, drunk and stoned and I really want some new sneakers" kind of way. If that is not what you want to hear, then steer well clear, but if you have a similar sense of humour as me, you will probably be in agreement that this is one of the most enjoyable hip hop records ever made, and is much more suited for a party than any crunk record.