33. The Pharcyde: Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde
Kanye West calls this the best rap album of all time. He might not be too far from the truth. Personally I’m surprised he didn’t name one of his own albums the greatest of all time but whatever I’ll just be happy that I agree with the man on at least one thing.
While East Coast groups like De La Soul where creating upbeat and happy hip-hop most of the west coast was filled with a much more gangsta rap style of hip-hop. Then came Pharcyde. These 4 MCs (and the incredible production of J-Swift) helped to create a style of alternative hip hop that allowed groups like Jurassic 5 or Del the Funkee Homo-Sapian to exploded. It blended jazzy beats and good humored satirical lyrics to create an album that’s hilarious, strange and also very sincere.
You have songs like “Oh Shit” (my personal favorite song) or “On the DL” where members SlimKid 3, Imani, Fatlip and Bootie Brown rap about the embarressing drunken hook-ups and events in their life they want to kept from their friends. Then you have a song like Ya Mama which literally involves the group swapping your mama jokes. The strangest moment on the album comes in For Better, For Worse in which rapper Fatlip’s verse is in the style of a harassing prank phone call. The only person besides Fatlip that could have ever pulled off a verse like this and come off funny and awesome would be the late great Ol Dirty Bastard.
The album received mixed reviews when it was first released but has since become a classic appearing in The Source Magazines 100 greatest rap albums list and the list of 1001 albums to hear before you die. Despite the praise the album only sold moderately and all their subsequential albums didn’t receive nearly the same level of praise.
The album still managed to go gold based on the single Passin’ Me By which is one of the most sincere and honest loves songs in hip-hop history. On the track each MC tells a story of their failure to get the girl of the dreams, containing lines like ‘Sometimes a twinkle in her eye is just a twinkle in her eye’ and ‘My Dear, My Dear, My Dear, you do not know me by I know you very well’. The group shamelessly discusses their failures at love, a topic most other rappers would never discuss.