Nielsen Music released its third-quarter music sales report in October, and while overall retail numbers declined, the sale of physical vinyl continued its upward rise. Through nine months, vinyl sales hit 9.35 million and reached its highest share of physical sales since the compact disc arrived. For collectors contributing to this growing revival, The Pharcyde's remastered Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde is a must.
Hailing from South Central Los Angeles, The Pharcyde released its debut in November 1992, and the album's pure hip-hop style starkly contrasted gangsta rap, which was still in its heyday with Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Compton's Most Wanted and Da Lench Mob all releasing albums that year. Breaking from the local norm, the jazz-infused Bizarre Ride provided a west coast response to De La Soul's 3 Feet High and Rising and Tribe's The Low End Theory. Like fine wine, Bizarre Ride got better with time eventually reaching classic status. Case in point, T.I. name dropped the group and an album track in Robin Thicke's 2013 hit "Blurred Lines," and when 96.3 Now TV asked Kanye West about his all-time favorite album, he responded, "I would have to say my favorite is Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde. That album was so dope."
With album's bonafides firmly noted, what makes the anniversary collection special? The colored-vinyl set includes two full albums (with lots of bonus material) and three 12-inch singles for "Ya Mama," "Passin' Me By" and "Otha Fish." The album samples the likes of James Brown, Richard Pryor, Ike & Tina, Jimi Hendrix, Quincy Jones, The Meters and Sly & Family Stone, while the stoner classic "Pack the Pipe" sampled everything from John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman's "Autumn Serenade" to House of Pain's "Jump Around." (Learn more about samples on and of Bizarre Ride here.) The album gets bonus points for art on the back cover that shows Pharcyde member Slimkid3 rockin' a joint.
Speaking recently with Billboard, Pharcyde member Imani recalled how many people slammed the album when it first came out. The album originally had some detractors as it diverged so sharply from the gangsta sound, yet that originality turned Bizarre Ride into an influencer that helped grow the SoCal and Bay Area hip-hop scenes. Discussing the change of opinions, Imani brushed it off saying, "It's laughable to me. I could go smoke a blunt right now and just laugh my fucking self to sleep."
The set retails for $46.99 on Amazon.