Top 10 The Pharcyde Songs

The Pharcyde Songs

Feature Photo: Charice L. from USA, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Our top 10 The Pharcyde songs look at the body of work of one of the most popular hip hop/rap groups of the ‘90s. Established in 1989 in Los Angeles, The Pharcyde classic lineup consisted of a four-man team including Fatlip, Slimkid3, Imani, and Bootie Brown. The quartet was cited to be one of the most humorous hip hop/rap acts of the ‘90s. Over the years, the alternative hip hop/progressive rap act has issued four studio albums with the debut LP being the group’s most successful release.

The Pharcyde’s Breakthrough and Album Releases over the Years

In 1991, The Pharcyde released their debut demo recording which included notable songs such as “Ya Mama,” “Officer,” and “Passin’ Me By.” Thanks to the group’s musician on the demo Mike Ross helped the quartet sign a recording contract with Delicious Vinyl, a record label (once) home to The Brand New Heavies, Young MC, The Flys, and Casey Veggies. The Pharcyde went ahead to feature on The Brand New Heavies’ 1992 LP Heavy Rhyme Experience, Vol. 1 making their contribution on the hit “Soul Flower.”

Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde, issued on November 1992, marked The Pharcyde’s debut studio album. J-Swift (also worked with Prince and Massive Attack) is among the personnel tasked with the production of The Pharcyde’s debut studio album. Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde has been cited to be among the most successful alternative hip hop albums of all time. The group’s venture into “humorous alternative hip hop” influences was a move against the grain at the moment owing to the flourishing gangsta rap scene.

Some of the gangsta rap artists/acts that were enjoyed mainstream at the time include Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, N.W.A., Ice T, and Schoolly D. Nevertheless, Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde went ahead to impress in the mainstream rising to the seventy-fifth spot on the Billboard 200. The album also made it to the UK Albums Chart, reaching a peak position of number fifty-eight. Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde was also a commercial success achieving gold certification in the US and a silver certification in the UK. “Passin’ Me By,” “Otha Fish,” “Ya Mama,” “Pack the Pipe,” and “4 Better or 4 Worse” are the best songs from The Pharcyde from Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde.

In 1995, The Pharcyde returned with their sophomore studio album Labcabincalifornia. In addition to alternative hip hop, the album saw The Pharcyde feature West Coast hip hop influences. The Pharcyde produced this album alongside the late J Dilla (formerly of Slum Village) and Diamond D (former member of D.I.T.C.). Other notable personnel contracted to make Labcabincalifornia a success was Tim Latham, a Grammy Award-winning recording engineer known for his prodigious work with Black Eyed Peas, The Psychedelic Furs, Orishas, Erykah Badu, Fun Lovin’ Criminals, and Britney Spears.

Labcabincalifornia was a mainstream success, peaking at seventeen on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums Chart. The album also graced the Billboard 200 reaching a peak position of number thirty-seven. Labcabincalifornia also made it to the UK Albums Chart peaking at the forty-sixth spot. Despite being the most successful album by The Pharcyde in the mainstream, Labcabincalifornia failed to impress commercially. “Runnin’,” “She Said,” and “Drop” are the most popular songs by The Pharcyde from the album.

Plain Rap, issued in November 2000, marked the group’s third studio album. The album featured Black Thought (known also for his membership at The Roots) on the song “Network.” Showbiz (known for his membership at D.I.T.C.) was among the producers of the album Plain Rap. “Trust,” “Frontline,” and “Somethin’” are the best songs by The Pharcyde from the album. Plain Rap made it to the sixty-seventh spot on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums Chart. The album also made it to the Billboard 200 Chart, peaking at number one hundred and fifty-seven.

In 2004, The Pharcyde issued their final studio album Humboldt Beginnings. Unfortunately, the album made it neither commercially nor in the mainstream. Spaceboyboogie X, rapper 88 Keys, and The Pharcyde members all teamed up in the production work of this album. “Illusions” and “Knew U” are the top musical gems by The Pharcyde from Humboldt Beginnings.

The Pharcyde’s Legacy

The Pharcyde started out as an alternative hip hop/progressive rap act at a time when gangsta rap was quite popular. Nevertheless, the hip hop group achieved success, especially with its gold-certified debut studio album Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde. Other artists/acts to have ventured into the alternative hip hop scene include A Tribe Called Quest, Arrested Development, Black Sheep, and The Fugees to name a few. Here we present the all-time best songs from The Pharcyde.

#10- 4 Better or 4 Worse

Opening up our top 10 songs by The Pharcyde is the impressive hit “4 Better or 4 Worse.” The song is among the top musical gems from Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde. “4 Better or 4 Worse” introduces us to The Pharcyde’s luscious blend of alternative hip hop and jazz rap. The song samples the lyrics of the hit “The Choice is Yours” by the hip hop duo Black Sheep.

“4 Better or 4 Worse” also pays homage to several songs from the ‘70s including “Pot Belly” by Lou Donaldson, “Rockin’ Funky Watergate” by Fred Wesley and The New JBs, and “Blind Alley” by The Emotions. While the song never made it to the mainstream charts, it enriched the quality of The Pharcyde’s debut gold-certified record.

#9- Knew U

By the time The Pharcyde issued its fourth studio album Humboldt Beginnings in 2004, the quartet had already been reduced to a twosome. With the departure of Fatlip and Slimkid3, Imani and Bootie Brown were left to push on with The Pharcyde’s musical pursuits. Of course, the fallout of the members had quite a significant impact on the group’s musical pursuits.

The Pharcyde never issued another album after Humboldt Beginnings, an album which never earned much acclaim. While Humboldt Beginnings failed to impress in the mainstream (and also commercially), its first single “Knew U” was among the exceptional hits we remember to date. “Knew U” is the perfect emblem of Imani and Bootie Brown’s musicianship as a duo.

#8- Ya Mama

Coming in at the eighth spot on our ten best songs by The Pharcyde is the raving hit “Ya Mama.” The song is yet another musical gem from the group’s gold-certified record Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde. “Ya Mama” sampled multiple elements of the hits “Season of The Witch” by Mike Bloomfield, Stephen Stills, and Al Kooper, and “Synthetic Substitution” by Melvin Bliss.

The song also sampled lyrics of the hits “Double Barrel” by Dave & Ansel Collins and “I Don’t Know What This World Is Coming To” by The Soul Children featuring Jesse Jackson. On the other hand, “Ya Mama” was sampled in the hit “Leave Home” by The Chemical Brothers. “Ya Mama” made it to the sixth spot on the Billboard Under R&B/Hip-Hop Singles Chart.

#7- Frontline

“Frontline” is an impressive track off the group’s album Plain Rap. The song samples the 1971 hit “If We Lived on the Top of a Mountain” by The Les Reed Orchestra. While the song never made it to the mainstream charts it has maintained its status as one of the fan-favorite tracks by The Pharcyde. The song’s music video was directed by Zoran Bihać who has worked with multiple artists including Rammstein, Lindemann, and Sabaton.

6- Trust

Number six on our ten best songs from The Pharcyde is the exquisite hit “Trust.” “Trust” is featured on The Pharcyde’s third studio album Plain Rap. The song was the first single released by the group for Plain Rap—Serves as the album-opening track to the album. “Trust” sampled the 1966 song “Countdown at 6” by Perrey and Kingsley. The song would later be sampled by producer J Swift in 2000.

J Swift’s remix of the hit “Trust” featured samples of the hits “Cactus” by Joe Beck and David Sanborn. The remix version also featured a sample of the 1991 hit “Can’t Truss It” by Public Enemy. The Pharcyde’s version of “Trust” was a mainstream success rising to the fifteenth spot on the Billboard Hot Rap Songs Chart. “Trust” also made it to the third spot on the Billboard Under R&B/Hip-Hop Singles Chart.

#5- She Said

The harmony-driven hit “She Said” introduces us to The Pharcyde’s musicianship on the sophomore studio album Labcabincalifornia. “She Said” features samples of The Pharcyde’s signature hit “Passin’ Me By” and the 1970 hit “Down by the River” by Buddy Miles. The song would later be sampled by Portishead on the band’s 1997 hit “Only You.”

“She Said” impressed on the mainstream charts reaching number thirty on the Billboard Hot Rap Songs Chart. The song also graced the Billboard Under R&B/Hip-Hop Singles Chart peaking at number four. “She Said” is The Pharcyde’s third and last song to feature on the UK Singles Chart, peaking at number fifty-one.

#4- Otha Fish

“Otha Fish” is our second-best pick from The Pharcyde’s debut studio album Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde. The song sampled the 1966 hit “Today” by Herbie Mann. On the other hand, “Otha Fish” was sampled by the hits “Everyone Has a Summer” by Lovage and “Zooted” by Total Devastation.” The song made it to the Billboard Dance Singles Sales Chart peaking at number thirty-five.

#3- Drop

The third track on our ten best songs from The Pharcyde is the alternative hip-hop hit “Drop.” “Drop” is featured on The Pharcyde’s sophomore studio album Labcabincalifornia. The song features samples of the hits “The New Style” by The Beastie Boys and “Django” by Dorothy Ashby. “Drop” made it to the fifth spot on the Billboard Hot Rap Songs Chart. The song peaked at number seventy-three on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Chart.

“Drop” made it to the Billboard Hot 100 Chart, peaking at number ninety-three. The Pharcyde worked with director Spike Jonze on the music video. Spike is best known for his prodigious work with The Beastie Boys, R.E.M., Fatboy Slim, Sonic Youth, and Weezer.

#2- Runnin’

“Runnin’” is the highest-ranking song by The Pharcyde off the group’s sophomore studio album Labcabincalifornia. The song features samples of the hits “Flying Easy” by Woody Herman, “You Follow Me” by James Moody, and the jazz hit “Saudade Vem Correndo” by Stan Getz and Luiz Bonfá. “Runnin’” also contains lyrics samples of the 1984 hit “Rock Box” by Run-DMC.

The Pharcyde have seen “Runnin’” sampled by multiple artists including Wiz Khalifa, The Roots, Limp Bizkit, and the French rap group 1995. “Runnin’” made it to the fifth spot on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Chart. The song also graced the Billboard Hot 100 Chart peaking at number fifty-five. “Runnin’” is The Pharcyde’s highest-charting hit on the UK Singles Chart peaking at number thirty-six.

#1- Passin’ Me By

Number one on our top ten best songs by The Pharcyde is the alluring hit “Passin’ Me By.” The song is The Pharcyde’s signature hit of the group’s gold-certified album Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde. “Passin’ Me By” contains samples of the hits “Friends” by Whodini, “Are You Experienced?” by Jimi Hendrix, and “Summer in the City” by Quincy Jones featuring Valerie Simpsons among others.

The song is The Pharcyde’s highest-charting song on the Billboard Hot 100 peaking at number fifty-two. “Passin’ Me By” topped the Billboard Hot Rap Songs Chart, reaching number twenty-eight on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Chart. The song also graced the UK Singles Chart, peaking at number fifty-five.

Top 10 The Pharcyde Songsarticle published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023

Classicrockhistory.com claims ownership of all its original content and Intellectual property under United States Copyright laws and those of all other foreign countries. No one person, business, or organization is allowed to re-publish any of our original content anywhere on the web or in print without our permission. All photos used are either public domain creative commons photos or licensed officially from Shutterstock under license with ClassicRockHistory.com. All photo credits have been placed at the end of the article. Album Cover Photos are affiliate links and the property of Amazon and are stored on the Amazon server. Any theft of our content will be met with swift legal action against the infringing websites.

DMCA.com Protection Status

DON’T MISS A BEAT

Be the first to know when a new article is published

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Add Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Dan Fogelberg Songs
Top 10 Dan Fogelberg Songs
Aretha Franklin Songs
10 Essential Aretha Franklin Songs
Roy Buchanan Songs
Top 10 Roy Buchanan Songs
Emerson
Top 10 Emerson, Lake & Palmer Songs
Humble Pie Albums
Top 10 Humble Pie Albums
Bob Seger Albums
Our Ten Favorite Bob Seger Albums
Paul McCartney Albums
Top 10 Paul McCartney Albums
ZZ Top Albums
Our 10 Favorite ZZ Top Albums
Peter Frampton
Frampton, Foreigner, Ozzy, & Dave Matthews Band Voted Into Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame
Best Of Bruce Springsteen
2024 Best Of Bruce Springsteen CD Comes With No Rare Tracks
Earthquake In New York
Earthquake In New York This Morning, Like Nothing I Have Ever Felt
Monsters of Rock Cruise 2024: Day Five Review
An Interview With Isom Innus Of Foster The People & Peel
An Interview With Isom Innus Of Foster The People & Peel
Oliver Wakeman Interview
An Interview With Oliver Wakeman, Formerly Of Yes
Leslie Mandoki Interview
An Interview With Leslie Mandoki Of The Mandoki Soulmates
Marc Ribler Interview
An Interview with Marc Ribler of Little Steven’s Disciples of Soul
Chevelle Albums
Complete List Of Chevelle Albums And Discography
Haim Albums
Complete List Of Haim Albums And Discography
KISS Solo Albums
Complete List Of KISS Solo Albums And Discography
White Zombie Albums
Complete List Of White Zombie Albums And Discography
9 Bands That Never Replaced Departed Members
Music CDs Comeback
Why Music CDs Have No Chance Of Making A Comeback
Classic Rock Bands Still Together But Overdue For A New Album
Classic Rock Bands Still Together But Overdue For A New Album
When Glam Bands Went Grunge In The 1990s
When Glam Bands Went Grunge In The 1990s
Taylor Swift Albums And Discography
Complete List Of Taylor Swift Albums And Discography
Carly Simon Hotcakes Album Review
Carly Simon’s HOTCAKES Album Still Sizzles After 50 Years
11 Tracks Of Whack Album Review
Walter Becker – 11 Tracks of Whack Album Review
Sammy Hagar Album Review
Why Sammy Hagar’s 1977 ‘Sammy Hagar’ LP Was One Of His Best