ROLLING STONE #482
This is definitely the most fun I've had with an album on this list so far. The Pharcyde, formed in the early 90s, are a group of high school friends who ended up having internal issues and had a rapid fall off after just a few albums, which is a real shame because this record is dope. This is their debut, and what really sets this record apart is the charisma, humor, and the infectious energy that it brings. All of the MCs have a super animated voice which really works with the silly bars throughout. The innocent lyrical content include getting a blowjob on the beach from a transvestite, running from the cops because of a suspended license, having a crush on a teacher, and there's even a whole track that is just yo mama jokes. Like, they are just genuinely funny. And it's something about the whole group just rapping one after the other and their group vocals on the hooks that just brings out so much joy. I can picture all of them in a room just freestyling and rapping together, sharing some laughs. Just pure, uplifting vibes all around. And it sounds so effortless and casual, like they are literally freestyling, but they flow so well and their bars are actually super witty and clever. "Passin' Me By" is a clear highlight as each member reflects on some of their love interests that slipped through their hands:
Now there she goes again, the dopest Ethiopian
And now the world around me begins moving in slow motion when-
Ever she happens to walk by - why does the apple of my eye
Overlook and disregard my feelings no matter how much I try?
And what really completes this record are the smooth, jazzy boom bap beats that sound super fresh on each track. I was actually really surprised how consistently great the beats were. The horn lines, groovy bass lines and crisp, upbeat drums add to the joyous, easygoing vibe that this album shoots out. Even the skits on this thing are just perfect and add to the purity and wholesomeness of the record. Hearing them sing together so joyfully about Quinton the weed guy being on his way was absolutely hilarious. This album may not really have much meaning behind it, but it's just filled to the brim with glee and humor that there's no way you aren't entertained while listening. Fun fact: Kanye said this was his favorite album of all time. Not surprising at all tbh, with all the humor and the layered sample-based production. This is one hell of a hip-hop project, and there really isn't a lot wrong with it.