Gearing up for another bizarre ride


Saturday, 8:50pm, Blue Stage

As Imani will attest, no two Pharcyde albums will ever sound the same.

"Change is always good, whether people like it or not. I'm a big advocate of change. That's why the first album sounds so different from the second."

Breaking onto the Los Angeles scene at the height of the early Nineties gangsta rap era, the Pharcyde posited themselves as one of hip-hop's most creative forces with 1992 debut Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde and Labcabincalifornia three years later. Then what Imani calls "drama and headaches and stress and shit" hit, and the funky foursome was reduced to two: Imani (born Emandu Wilcox) and Bootie Brown (Romye Robinson). Reinvigorated by the return of founding member Tre Hudson, Pharcyde now faces the challenge of making fresh music without alienating the generation that grew up on "Passin' Me By" and "Otha Fish."

"That Bizarre Ride album means a lot to people," reflects Imani. "You gotta let them reacquaint themselves with the old vibe, because music is timeless. It's just weird when you make the music."

That said, not even Imani knows when we'll see a new album. "Rome wasn't built in a day," he jokes. "And neither were any Pharcyde albums."

In other words, don't expect anything for a while.

"We haven't seen each other in 10 years and you expect us to do another 'Passin' Me By'?" Imani retorts. "Come on, dude. Can we get together and vibe? Can we smoke some weed together? You gotta ride with us. Go on the journey. I know the journey's gonna be completely worth it. But you gotta reacquaint yourself with the Pharcyde funk. And then we'll pull out Bizarre Ride III, or whatever it's gonna be called."

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