Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde is one of the greatest classic hip-hop albums of all time.
Ever since that slab dropped in 1992 on Delicious Vinyl Records, it has resonated with fans across the globe. And hits like "Runnin'," "Ya Mama," and "Who Is the Nigga in Charge" are so massively influential on pop culture that even people who've never heard the tracks know the words.
On Saturday, October 5th at LMNT as part of the #JusticeForReefa benefit weekend, original Pharcyde members Slimkid3 and Fatlip will be joined by original Pharcyde producers J-Swift and L.A. Jay for a full performance of the entire album, with special video projections, celebrating 21 years since its release.
We called up Trevant "Slimkid3" Hardson and asked him to explain every track.
"4 Better or 4 Worse"
"This was one of those songs," Slimkid3 says, "that J-Swift created on his own. Those chords are his, and just the way it sounds is like a marriage, a wedding or something. When we started with Reggie Andrews at SCU [the studio], the loops of the songs we were doing would play all day throughout the studio. Fatlip went about it like a stalker or something, not locked in a room but in this room doing this character, and we were like, fuck it. I really appreciate how wild we were. Everything was fun, and it turned out being this really crazy-cool fuckin' music."
"I kinda don't really remember that one, to be honest. But it seems like we had a good time recording it. We were having a lot of good times in general. I think we were listening to a lot of Richard Pryor during that time. 'Oh Shit' speaks for itself. It's the type of time we had. My verse is about me being out on the football field, with a bunch of people watching me do the deed with this girl. It's kind of like a true story. Fortunately, it's not the whole story..."
"It's Jiggaboo Time"
"This song lays it out for you with how things were in the industry at the time. How you gotta put on a fake face and shake your ass off. We had our moments when we first started and we were trying to get signed with a lot of different labels. They weren't feeling us, like we were wasting their time or they were wasting ours. And then we were like, 'Fuck this,' and just started doing what the fuck we wanted. We stopped trying to be that perfect clean thing we thought they were looking for. We got fuckin' balls-out wild and not giving a fuck during the showcases for these industry people. One time, we mooned them. We didn't give a shit, and that's when things started turning around for us. They all started taking us out to dinner, and we were like, 'Fuck it, we'll go eat for free,' and didn't give a fuck. It gave us a beautiful outlook on everything and led to a good choice creatively on where to go."
"I'm That Type of Nigga"
"This came from a lot of our freestyle cyphers. We were always with the Freestyle Fellowship, the folks from the Good Life, shit like that. It was like verbal exercise. It was all about who was the nigga in charge in a whole big group of young brothers. It was just a whole cypher, y'know, talking about who is the nigga in charge."
"If I Were President"
"We would kind of open up the mic and freestyle for hours and talk about anything and everything. It's what was in our heart at the time. Like, if I was president, I would do things to help the people. People wouldn't be fuckin' broke as a joke. It was things that the collective would love to do to help the world to be a better place by eradicating this modern-day slavery shit. What would anyone do if they were president? Not on the elite level -- they would stay doing the same fuckin' thing, which is to oppress the people."
"This was all about smoking weed, of course. We would always have these little weed breaks. J-Swift's brother was named Pedro. He had this green VW van that we would always go in and smoke weed and tell jokes. I didn't really smoke as much weed as everybody else. And I would always need my magic baseball cap to keep me inside my body. That's what 'Soul Flower' was, getting high in the bus. We'd also listen to music and called it the 'red light special.' J-Swift and Pedro would listen to some jazz music all night long, smoking weed, popping pills, talkin' about girls."
"On the DL"
"It's not in the sense of what the term really means, but it's about you pulling your homeboy to the side to let him know, 'Get your shit together.' It's not to announce to everybody, but it's about telling you how you're being fucked up and to change your ways."
"Pack the Pipe"
"I wasn't there when this freestyle happened. It's Peace from the Freestyle Fellowship, the Wascals, and everybody talking about their weed experiences. Like I said, I needed my magic baseball cap to keep me inside my head. Weed had a different effect on me. That's why, for me, the Chocolate Tide was the best. The chronic bionic had me on some other plane, y'know. I would always get paranoid, basically. There was times I would be in the van like... One time, we went to the movies, and we got high 'cause we had this weed pump that burns and kind of sucks the smoke through these tubes. And this machine just makes it burn and you pass it around, and I think I overdid it. We went to the movies, and I started floating out of my chair. I was like, 'I can't wait for this fuckin' movie to be over.' It was a scary movie, but it was not as scary as the paranoia, and on the way back to the crib, next thing I know, I couldn't get my face off the ceiling. That's how high I was, but I was like, 'I would rather not be high right now. Just unhigh me right now. Unhigh me please.'"
"This one's kinda self-explanatory. Who wants to get pulled over? In L.A., the police just harass folks all the time. It's like, 'Just do your job. I'm not really committing a crime at all.' There was always a kind of pressure. I still have posttraumatic syndrome, the way a lot of other people do. Our taxes pay their salary. We actually pay them to kick our ass. Good cops, I like. They cool. But bad cops? Man. Fuck them. We do need police to do the right thing to protect and serve, but when it turns too police state-ish, that's not cool. It's not acceptable. I'm not for it for the American people or for people anywhere all over the world. It's bullshit. It's not acceptable. And also, on the flipside, we gotta make sure, if we know their mental state is not so stable, we need to lay off some. There's certain things we need to change. We lose more motherfuckin' people to just saying the wrong thing. Police come out and start shoving people around. It makes me wonder where the fuck do I actually live. A lot needs to change in. It's like, 'Don't pull me over. I don't know what the fuck you're thinking.' When they pull guns out and order you to the ground, that gun can flip. The hammer is cocked. You have to be supercareful what you're doing. They sometimes use their powers in the wrong way. Tasing people to death. They feel like they have a right to do that shit. I think that shit is crazy, really crazy. It makes me sad. And they get away with that shit. They make up these stories of why they stop someone. It doesn't take a lot to shoot somebody. But the aftereffect is that you killed somebody. They are no longer here because of you. Maybe you could have talked or worked something out, but that's what happened."
"When we were in Pedro's buzz van, our mama jokes would always go too far. You would always wanna fight. And if you fought, you lost. You were the bigger stupid 'cause you let it affect you. You gotta laugh and try not to take it personal. If it hurt your feelings, it was more fuel to the fire. Like, 'Did it touch on something real? Let me keep goin'.' Our humor is sick, so we made a song about it."
"Passin' Me By"
"Where we recorded at SCU, that was the name of the studio, we used to hang out on the edge of the street, watching girls. During traffic hours, the fly honeys would just drive by. I mean, it was like the whole crew. My group, the Fellowship cats, the GTI, all the folks at that studio, we would just hang out and watch the girls go by, and that's what that's all about. Talking about the girl that you maybe couldn't get. And everybody can relate to that. All the guys can relate. There's always that chick you'd see but never step up and say shit to. But now, being older, I know if I would have just tried, I mighta got a date, but being young, you're hesitant because you like her. And by the way, when all this happened, we were like 18, 19, 20 years old. We're older now, and it doesn't happen the same anymore. We know things now that we could have used then."
"Return of the B-Boy"
"I don't think I did a good job on my verse. Everybody else did a great job trying recapture the old school, but I don't like my verse. I still perform it, but whatever. I'm a superhuge fan of LL Cool J, BDP [Boogie Down Productions], and Run-D.M.C. I just didn't cut the mustard, to me. But everybody else did a great job. It's a danceable song, and it captures the moment for the breakdance, and that's pretty awesome."
"Quinton's on the Way"
"Imagine being at the studio for like 14 hours. Literally from like 11 a.m. till the next sunrise everyday 'cause we were working on the Bizarre Ride album. That's the nature of it. We were just in there, just working. We would get hungry and order food. The menus would be all laid out. We'd be shooting pool at the pool table. The brothers liked to smoke a lot, and they would call Quinton, hit him up. They would call him just like the pizza delivery. And in 30 minutes, he would be there. And then the sessions in the van -- we would go in and go on and on. When Quinton was on his way, everybody was happy, like, 'Yeah, man, we 'bout to get high!'"
"Wow... So this is like the biggest heartbreak song you could ever hear, basically. But it's based on a true story. When I was younger, I fell really head over heels over this woman. And, um, we broke up, and I took it very, very hard. Like, a 1,000 percent what she did for me helped my life by breaking up with me. My lifestyle then was pretty dangerous, and she wanted me to succeed more than wind up in jail. It was a good thing, and I thank her for it, but at the time, I was young. When she left, I didn't give a fuck about anything. I coulda walked in front of a truck and it wouldn't matter. But when one door closes, another opens, but it took a minute to get myself together. I had some female friends that were supportive and that helped me shake myself out of that hole I was in and get myself back walking on my feet again. It was a really low, low time for me. Like a void I couldn't fill. During rough situations, you can't forget about who you are or your self. And you got to be 100 percent filled with a love for life to walk alongside someone else. And when they're gone, it's not the end of the world.
"When you break up, at least they didn't die, 'cause then there's no way to talk ever again. A breakup, you'll get through. I love my wife to death, for sure, and I would hate for anything to go wrong and lose her. I value our relationship, and I love my family, and that's the tricky thing about love. You sign a contract with the universe to be with this person, and it doesn't mean you're with 'em forever. My point is, when you are in a situation, even friendships, treat them well, like every day is the last, and enjoy these moments. Be a good memory in somebody's life. And when one door closes, another opens. The universe, or God, always has something better for you once you take a step forward. The important thing is, the person during those times, they might be mermaids or just another fish, but they're special. Really enjoy that time, and when they're gone they're gone, y'know.
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"One step at a time. One day at a time. Even through the heartbreak. The next person you fall for, they're not the person that broke your heart. You can't treat them bad 'cause you got fucked up. Start fresh and don't be afraid to dive in hard again. Because being the fool isn't a bad thing. At least you gave your all. But if you don't give it your all, you the fool trying to fool someone else. And that's it."
#JusticeForReefa Benefit Weekend. Thursday, October 3, to Saturday, October 5. LMNT, 55 NW 36th St., Miami. Admission is free on Thursday and Friday, but tickets cost $20 for Saturday's concert via 222worldwide.eventbrite.com or $30 at the door. Visit 222worldwide.com.