Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde

Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde

A jovial, playful-yet-personal debut, 1992’s Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde marked a landmark moment in alternative hip-hop. Irrepressible goofballs and incisive diarists, the four members of Los Angeles’ The Pharcyde—Slimkid3, Fatlip, Imani, and Bootie Brown—were capable of both off-the-wall weirdness and incisive self-reflection, of furious rhyme antics and shocks of melody. Emo before emo-rap, Pharcyde eschewed hip-hop braggadocio for something more self-deprecating. Combined with great comic timing, animated personalities, and an arsenal of “ya mama” jokes, the group laid down a blueprint for a generation of underground rappers. Pharcyde cut a stark figure in the gangsta-rap-dominated ’90s: The members might break out in song in the middle of a verse, or joke like four Biz Markies—all while accompanied by beats anchored by the freewheeling jazz loops of producer J-Swift. And while rappers like Big Daddy Kane were playing the Casanova game, The Pharcyde opted to explore their unrequited loves, friend-zone moments, and various humiliations on “Passin’ Me By,” one of the album’s standout tracks. Slimkid3 insists the four tales in the song are all true, and the mix of raw honesty, along with a lush Quincy Jones loop, made it an instant hip-hop classic. Slimkid3 plumbed the depths of a broken heart once again for the follow-up single “Otha Fish,” a delirious song about emotional restoration that flows like liquid between rapping and singing. Bizarre Ride was the greatest West Coast hip-hop album of 1992 that wasn’t The Chronic—and it couldn’t have been more different than the oncoming laid-back G-Funk revolution. A lively, giddy energy burst, it was the funniest, most irreverent hip-hop album of its day, as evidenced by Fatlip doing a maniacal horror-flick phone call (“4 Better or 4 Worse”), or breaking into a Public Enemy impersonation to complain about the DMV (“Officer”). The album’s jokes peak with “Ya Mama,” a dizzying snap-fest that also includes some inventive four-part harmonies. Bizarre Ride has a legacy that extends far past its role as a beacon of alternative rap and subterranean Los Angeles. “Passin’ Me By” made a comeback in 2001, when R&B singer Joe repurposed it for his No. 1 hit “Stutter.” In 2013, “Passin’ Me By” returned to the zeitgeist when T.I. referenced it for his verse on Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.” And Kanye West, another rapper who went against the grain by dealing in personal reflection, would famously declare Bizarre Ride as nothing short of his favorite album of all time. The Pharcyde would continue their trailblazing streak for years afterward. But Bizarre Ride would forever serve as the triumphant moment when a group of California cut-ups helped pave the way for some of hip-hop’s more eccentric visions.

Select a country or region

Africa, Middle East, and India

Asia Pacific


Latin America and the Caribbean

The United States and Canada