Last year saw the twentieth anniversary of the Pharcyde’s magnetic debut Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde, and it is with due reason that the label who released it back in 1992, Delicious Vinyl, have been relentlessly celebrating its legacy.
As well as releasing a comprehensive re-issue of Bizarre Ride, Delicious Vinyl have been touring the epic live show Bizarre Ride Live with original members Fatlip and SlimKid3, and producers J-Sw!ft and L.A. Jay.
To mark the record’s anniversary celebrations, and in anticipation of the upcoming Bizarre Ride Live U.S. and Europe tour dates, DJ Chris Read from the U.K. has put together a special mixtape for the label. Read is one of London’s finest DJ’s, and as well as being the driving force behind long-established Music of Substance, is a recording artist for BBE Records and former BBC Radio 1Xtra DJ.
The depth and ambition of Read’s previous mixtapes is staggering, and so Wax Poetics is pleased to premier the Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde 20th Anniversary Mixtape. And to get some context, we spoke to Chris to hear some of his experiences of and thoughts on the classic hip-hop record:
When did you first hear Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde?
I was at school. We’d trade tapes and that sort of thing, so I probably heard it in a friend’s car or somewhere like that. I was a skater as a kid, so I’d grab a ride to places to skate with some of the older kids and we’d always listen to new stuff in the car.
How would you describe the overall sound of the record?
I guess to describe when I first heard it, the best word would be refreshing. It was certainly something unexpected from a West Coast act at the time. It had that sense of fun and offbeat humour that was present on albums like 3 Feet High and Rising, but the Pharcyde definitely put their own spin on the sound. Plus the production and choice of sample material was pretty unique, which really set it apart.
How does digging into the DNA of a record change the way you hear it? Has creating this mix affected how you listen to Bizarre Ride now?
Making the mix really made me dig into the detail a lot more. A lot of the records they sampled are just great records which I love anyway, but doing something like this makes you pay attention in a different way. One thing which I became much more aware of is the way the vocals are laid. They re-recorded vocals for all their remixes to give each of the alternate versions a really different feel—not many people do that even now. And the way the vocals are arranged is great too, the interplay between the different members of the group.
Why do you think that the record has endured for so long?
I think mostly because it was so unique when it came out, and that sort of forges its place as a classic. Even listened to in new context that never goes away, but ultimately it’s just a great record—interesting sample material put together well with entertaining and engaging lyrics. It’s hard to fault that whether you’re listening for the first time or the hundredth time.
Tell us about the mixtape—what’s in there?
Well, it’s all based around tracks from the album but maximising use of all the various versions and associated sample material, so there are remixes from all of the singles from the album, instrumentals, acapellas, original breaks and even some interview snippets from the time of release. It’s a pretty fluid sort of mix which dips back and forth between layers of sample material and the full tracks. I would recommend giving it a listen rather than letting me describe it though!
1) The Pharcyde – Ya Mama (Instrumental)
2) Chris Read – Theme #3 (Scratchapella)
3) Marvin Gaye – Since I Had You (Loop)
4) The Pharcyde – Interview (1992)
5) The Pharcyde – Otha Fish (Acapella)
6) The Pharcyde – Otha Fish (LA Jay Remix)
7) The Pharcyde – Otha Fish (Instrumental)
8) Herbie Mann – Today
9) The Pharcyde – Pack the Pipe
10) Herbie Mann – Bijou
11) Jimi Hendrix – Are You Experienced (Loop)
12) Quincy Jones – Summer in the City
13) The Pharcyde – Passin’ Me By (Acapella)
14) Melvin Bliss – Synthetic Substitution (Loop)
15) Roy Ayers – The Third Eye
16) The Pharcyde – Passin’ Me By (Fly As Pie Mix)
17) Mike Bloomfield, Al Kooper & Stephen Stills – Season of the Witch
18) The Soul Children – I Don’t Know What This World Is Coming To
19) The Pharcyde – Ya Mama (J Swift Remix)
20) The Pharcyde – Ya Mama (Acapella)
21) The Pharcyde – Ya Mama (Kenny Dope Remix) (Loop)
22) Stanley Cowell – Travelin’ Man
23) The Pharcyde – On the DL (Instrumental)
24) The Pharcyde – On the DL
25) James Brown – Funky Drummer
26) The Pharcyde – Officer
27) Donald Byrd – Beale Street
28) The Pharcyde – Oh Shit (Instrumental)
29) The Pharcyde – Soul Flower (Remix Acapella)
30) The Pharcyde – Soul Flower (Remix Instrumental)
31) Doug E Fresh & Slick Rick – The Show (Instrumental)
32) The Pharcyde – Return of the B-Boy
33) The JBs – Rockin’ Watergate (Loop)
34) The Pharcyde – 4 Better or 4 Worse (Acapella)