The Pharcyde: Just Blazed

Since 1992, the Pharcyde has been lacing Hip-Hop heads with a conscious and alternative sound. When Delicious Vinyl dropped their debut The Bizarre Ride II, the Pharcyde established themselves as a pivotal force in Hip-Hop gaining support from not only fans but fellow artists as well although was not completely felt by critics. But it was their sophomore album Labcabincalifornia that truly established their presence in Hip-Hop.

By the third album, there were not only problems at the label and their album being delayed due to lack of funds, there were also creative differences starting to surface between the members. The once smooth ride had started to turn into a downward spiral and no one had control.

After five years of success, it’s taken five years for the Pharcyde’s condensed version to rebound from the shortcomings. got a chance to talk with the remaining Bizarre MC’s, Imani and Booty Brown about the launching of their new label, Chapter 1 and the release of their fourth studio album Humboldt Beginnings, fasten your seatbelts as we take a ride to the Pharcyde. My first question is what really happened with the departure of Tre and Fatlip?

Imani: Well, the situation with Fatlip was that he was doing his own thing. He wasn’t coming to shows and he was really playing it like he was a solo artist and that was causing conflict between him and the group. But out of all of us, he and Tre were fighting the most, so we decided to remove Fatlip because we thought Tre was the one who was really down with what we were trying to do. Then all of a sudden, before the release of Plain Rap, Tre decided that he wanted to do his solo thing and just left, if we would have known that was going to happen we would have just kept Fatlip because we really let him go because of Tre. Is there still animosity between you two and Tre?

Imani: No. He will always be my boy and no matter what goes on with this music stuff, we were friends first, that’s why the way he left hurt me so much because we were friends before all this. Is there any hopes of a reunion with Tre and Fatlip?

Imani: I don’t think so right now, Brown and I are out doing our thing making sure that the legacy of Pharcyde goes strong, but I won’t rule it out. Your new album, Humboldt Beginnings is released under Chapter One, which is your label, what made you start your own label and do you have any artists signed?

Imani: We decided to start our own label because we really wanted to control what we put out, so we got together and created Chapter One. We signed one other group, The Pitch Hitters and then there is our collective group with Hieroglyphics and The Souls of Mischief, The Almighty Pythons. So we are really working on getting our artists out there and concentrating on making as much music as we can. Aside from being Californians after a similar cause, how did you link up with Hieroglyphics and the Souls of Mischief?

Brown: We linked up with them like around ’94 when we were on tour, we all vibed and the relationships just grew from there, but we knew we were going to work together even then because we each liked what the other was putting out. You guys have been out since 1991, even before that is you want to count your days as b-boys, how has Hip-Hop changed in your eyes since your initial debut?

Imani: We haven’t been out that long [laughs], we came out in like 1993. That’s journalist talk for saying we are old. [laughs]. Naw, but I mean to me it’s changed for the better, it’s continued to grow and evolve into something new and fresh.

Brown: For all those people out there that say Hip-Hop is dead and they are MC’s, they sound stupid because what are they making then? I think Hip-Hop is alive and it’s a reflection of the youth. With only two members remaining, you guys have still managed to keep the traditional Pharcyde sound. For those who haven’t picked up Humboldt Beginnings what can they expect?

Imani: First off, I would have to say that anyone who listens to it has to listen unbiased, because it is a real creative album. But just expect an experience, I mean a lot of people don’t like it at first, but after a few listens it grows on you. [laughs]

Brown: Honestly, with this album we aren’t really didn’t set out to make an album to be received by them masses. When we made the album, we made an album to stay true to ourselves and our fans because they are really all that matter. What laid the groundwork for “The Pharcyde sound” twelve years ago?

Imani: I think that coming up as dancers affected our music at that time. We used to go to the underground spots, big clubs and trendy spots to hear all different types of music and see how the people would react along with ourselves. We wanted to incorporate all these musical emotions to our records and that’s still what we do today. We fuse different types of music that influences us together to make a sound of our own. Why do you think so many people sleep on your albums initially, because a lot of people slept on Labcabincalifornia and that was a great album?

Brown: I don’t think it’s that they slept on it, they were just expecting a sound like Bizarre [Ride II] and we came out with something different. But after people actually listened, they felt it and vibed to it and now it’s considered a classic.

Imani: I think with all of our albums some hate it and some love it, but being creative is all about taking risks and that’s what we strived to do with each album, take risks and be different and I think that’s what’s made us stand out this long. Last but not least what do you want to say to the fans?

Imani: Keep learning everyday no matter what it is, because once you stop learning you stop being creative.

Brown: Thanks to all of the fans who have been down with the Pharcyde since the beginning and we will continue to make music for you. Look out for upcoming projects because we have more to come.