Pharcyde @ The O2 Academy
Having been performing their debut album, Bizarre Ride II – a landmark for 90’s alternative hip-hop, in its entirety for the best part of 3 years – it’s a well-received surprise to see that members of the Pharcyde still play the album’s tracks with as much gusto and slickness as during their golden era.
Released on the 24th November 1992 (my birthday no less), the album highlighted the group as pioneers of the alternative, more positive side of hip-hop that emerged on the West Coast in defiance of the Gangsta Rap that was taking America and the world by storm.
Despite eventual fallouts and the loss of core members Slimkid3 and Fatlip due to creative differences, Imani, Bootie Brown – and the more recent additions to the group Schmooche Cat and Spaceboy Boogie X – still give their all to assure that there is no search for nostalgia here, just pure enjoyment.
Opener ‘Oh Shit’ sets the tone rather fittingly with its rip-roaring rowdiness and is followed suit with similarly assured party starters from the album like ‘Ya Mama’, ‘Soul Flower’ and ‘On The DL’.
Though the Academy’s second, smaller and more intimate room may not be the ideal scenario for what was at one point one of hip-hop’s most promising acts, there’s no indication of them ruing their missed opportunities as they bounce gaily across the stage and play off each other with all the freshness of a new group.
Throw a few now-customary shout outs to classic hip-hop artists, being queried whether we like ‘real hip-hop music’ and some ‘hey-oh’s’ in between classic tracks such as ‘Runnin’’, ‘She Said’ and a jubilant ‘Passin’ Me By’ and you have all of the ingredients of a trademark hip-hop show that is all you could ask for on a Friday night.