The Pharcyde Biography

"You've got so many groups talking about 'the real.' Keeping it real is about keeping it original and not trying to have some gimmick or follow some gangster trend. Keep it true to yourself and how you want to come off. People will accept that because it is real."

Boasting a collective stream-of-conciousness flow, a shared love of freaky humor and fearless penchant for exposing emotions, The Pharcyde has proved itself to be one of hip hop's few originators. With its 1992 Delicious Vinyl debut album, Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde, now close to the gold mark for US sales, the group has filled three hectic years with touring, writing songs and sweating in the studio. Although The Pharcyde put two years into Labcabincalifornia, their second Delicious Vinyl album, it was time well spent. The album is a sophmore hump, not a sophmore slump. It provides an aural snapshot of a band leaving large foot prints in new lyrical, sonic, and psychic territory. "You can hear it when people rush their shit out there," Tre states. "They end up feeding the masses anything. It might take me a year to finish lyrics to one piece, but I know that song's going to be booming." "Over the last three years, we saw a lot, experienced a lot, and learned a lot. That's obviously gonna come out in our music," says Fat Lip. The Pharcyde have since moved from the infamous Pharcyde Manor to the Lab Cabin in the Los Angeles suburb of Los Feliz. After Installing a 24 track studio, the fab foursome did most of their new album's pre-production at home. Although the group enlisted aid from hip hop studio wizards Diamond D, Buckwild, Grand Mixer DJ M-Walk (one of the pioneers of the world famous 1580 KDAY Mix Master Show) and Q-Tip protege Jay Dee, they also handled production for several of Labcabincalifornia's cuts themselves. "It has a bump factor to it now," Tre inthuses about the new album. "All the music was lighter on the first album. I could never really dance to it the way I wanted to. Now you can really feel the vibrations of the bass-kick, and you can really feel the spaciness of the space parts. Propelled by electric piano chords floating over plump bass hits, "Bullshit" is noth the title and the subject of Labcabincalifornia's first cut. Although the song's lyrics are fractured through the Pharcyde's four way kaleidoscopic vocal maze, sucker MC's biting the band definitely comes through as one form of bullshit. The songs "Pharcyde" and "Drop," a psychedelic meditation on their imitators dropping off, each deal with the same subject as "Bullshit." "Runnin'" the album's first single, is a mid-tempo 21st century funk song featuring a spanish guitar loop. The song's lyrics and irresistible vocal hook from a cautionary tale similar to Bob Marley's classic, "Running Away." Both "She Said," which bubbles with smooth R&B flavor, and the song "Groupie Therapy" are about romantic run-ins with women. Whether The Pharcyde are throwing down about one night stands or the trials of long-term relationships, they aren't ashamed to express longing and loss. Other standout songs include the soulful "Moment in Time" where the band reminisces about departed loved ones; the true to the game "Somethin' That Means Somethin'," and "Y?," a trip through life's bummers. And in case you thought the band has lost its blunted sense of humor, they go shrooming and zooming in "Splattitorium," "It's All Good" and the definitely ill "The Hustle." "Devil Music" is an intense jam whose groove drifts like a cloud of chronic, a rising musical tide that lifts all boats. Originally released on the State of Emergency compilation as "My Soul," "Devil Music" explores the ugly side of the music business. "This business aint for weak hearts and weak souls," Tre explains. "Basically you'll get crunched , and now we know that." Tre, Romye, and Imani started their trip through the hip hop nation as groovers. Their group, Two For Two appeared in several music videos and on the television program In Living Color. It was then they met their friend and long time manager, Suave, who was the road manager for Tone Loc and Candyman (both of which they lent their talents to). While attending South Central Unit, an after school program for the performing arts held at the home of high school teacher Reggie Andrews, the trio met Fat Lip and producer J-Swift. The group recorded a demo which sparked a bidding war and they were inked to Delicious Vinyl as The Pharcyde. Their first release "Soul Flower," won praises as the best cut on Heavy Rhyme Experience: Vol. 1 a hip-hop collaboration between The Brand New Heavies and top hip hop artists. Although "Ya Mama," the group's first single from Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde, landed some notices and air play, it was the mid-tempo "Passing Me By taht kicked on radio and in the clubs. "They paved the way for an LA hip hop renaissance that helped hoist the city out of its bullets and bitches pigeon hole," lauded One Nut Magazine. For the next two years, the group honed it's stage skills, touring the US, Europe, and hitting Japan for dates with De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest. The Pharcyde were the first group to tour two years in a row on the second stage of Lollapalooza. While working on their second album, The Pharcyde kept the underground bubbling by placing the song "Pandemonium" on the Street Fighter soundtrack, throwing down the "Rubber Song" on the Red Hot and Cool" compilation and dropping the aformentioned "My Soul."

Which brings us back to the last quarter of 1995. "We're more in control of our thoughts and actions now," says Imani. We're also fully in tune with each other. I'ts hard to describe how far we've come. At first it was like we had blindfolds on. Now the blinders are off and we're standing firm at the mic, tighter than ever."

Fatlip leaves the band:
Imani: Fat Lip is just Fat Lip. He was already a solo artist when we became a group. He was already putting on that he was into a solo thing when we was first recording our album. It was like we knew he was gonna do a solo thing...he was a solo artist. It was no thing, He's doin a solo thing with the original producer Jay Smith. They're collaborating with some ideas and we got the EP about to come out. It's just to let people know that we're still doin our thing. I don't know how people are perceiving, like it's the breakup of the group. It's nothing like that it's just that he's doin some solo things and we're still the Pharcyde. The Pharcyde will continue to make music. We're going to let people know with this EP that we have coming out it's a little bit of the old with remixes and four new songs. The Pharcyde is still around.

Tre has left the band, too. He's working on his solo project "Flying baboon".