By Robert Goldberg | November 16, 2023

Celebrating over 30 years of hip hop, funky fresh, old school hip hop group, The Pharcyde, brought down the house at Brooklyn Bowl last Thursday, showing NYC how LA gets down. It’s been over 30 years since the group dropped their critically acclaimed debut album, Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde, and their 2023 world tour was a continued celebration of the LP, with shows performed by three of the four rappers: Fatlip, Slimkid3, & Imani. From laid-back, jazzy beats to playful lyrics and even freestyle dance, you could tell this was a group of seasoned entertainers ready to tear the roof off.

The night kicked off with Philly local and rap artist, Sherrelle Homes (aka Show Real), who brought her trap beats and unique flow with an around the block kick-back vibe, effortlessly hyping up the crowd. BreakBeat Lou continued to keep the kitchen cooking, spinning 90’s and 00’s hip hop oldies in preparation for the LA underground legends. Finally, The Pharcyde commanded the stage with a laid-back yet magnetic presence, moving with confidence and energy and engaging the audience with dynamic choreography and well-coordinated lyrical exchanges. “Brooklyn make some noise!” exclaimed Imani as the group immediately dove into a Bizarre Ride II classic, “Ya Mama,” transporting the crowd to the childhood days of hilarious “yo mama” jokes with this funky fun track. With the crowd in the groove, it was time for the three emcee’s to turn the party up a notch as they continued with their famous tune “Drop.” “When I say drop, you say drooooop!” The fans were obsessed, engaging in all antics and vocal games The Pharcyde threw at them.

The group continued with another track from their album Labcabincalifornia, Bullshit,” demonstrating their multidimensional verbal prowess and trading and echoing lyrics to each other, which made for a head-bopping good time. The next two tracks jumped back into the Bizarre Ride II theme of the night, including hit “4 Better or 4 Worse.” Although fourth member Booty Brown was not in attendance, there was no lack of love for him – during their following song, “Soul Flower- Remix,” Fatlip stopped the track to shout out him out, paying his respects for the influential rapper. More cheeky lyrics followed as the trio kept the show rocking with “Oh Shit” and then changed up the mood entirely with an on-stage green aura for their song “Pack the Pipe,” laying down a danker Cypress Hill style beat and hazy ambience. 

After dishing out an unstoppable verbal barrage for the first half of the show, The Pharcyde started to spin a Rick James jam break, performing songs “Give It To Me Baby” and “Mary Jane,” which Fatlip dedicated to Reggie Andrews. Andrews was a teacher and mentor for musicians like Rick James, Thundercat, The Internet, and The Pharcyde, and he was a major influence for their debut album as well. They then played a memorable rift from Reggie Andrews, which was clearly the main sample for “Passin’ Me By,” an iconic track that had fans clapping in anticipation. As they neared the end of the show, the group gave thanked the Brooklyn audience and started to reminisce about how they came to NYC to record their second album Labcabincalifornia with icons Q-Tip and J Dilla, and ended the set with a more sentimental cut from the album, “She Said.” 

Fans knew this wouldn’t be the final blow as they cheered “Phar-Cyde! Phar-Cyde” pleading for an encore. Soon enough, The Pharcyde emerged back on stage to end the night with one of their most memorable songs and crowd favorite “Runnin,’” which had us movin’, groovin’, and yearnin’ for more. You can check out the rest of The Pharcyde’s 2023 Tour as they end their year bringing original flavors of old school hip hop to their home state of California.

Connect with The Pharcyde on Instagram, Spotify, TikTok and their website.

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