The Pharcyde

The cover shot of a Fat Albert-ized Pharcyde roller coasting their way into a funhouse makes perfect sense, as the L.A.-based quartet introduced listeners to an uproarious vision of earthy hip-hop informed by P-Funk silliness and an everybody-on-the-mic street-corner atmosphere that highlights the incredible rapping skills of each member.

With multiple voices freestyling over hilarious story-songs like "Oh Shit," "Soul Flower," the dozens contest "Ya Mama," and even a half-serious driving-while-black critique named "Officer," Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde proved Daisy Age philosophy akin to De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest wasn't purely an East Coast phenomenon. Skits and interludes with live backing (usually just drums and piano) only enhance the freeform nature of the proceedings, and the group even succeeds when not reliant on humor, as proved by the excellent heartbreak tale "Passing Me By."

The production, by J-Sw!ft and the group, is easily some of the tightest and most inventive of any hip-hop record of the era. Though Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde could have used a few more musical hooks to draw in listeners before they begin to appreciate the amazing rapping and gifted productions, the lack of compromise reveals far greater rewards down the line.-John Bush

Putting forth a new West Coast sound that countered the gangsta mentality of NWA, this Hip Hop collective proved itself to be one of hip hop's most original, albeit short-lived groups. With its 1992 Delicious Vinyl debut album, "Bizarre Ride II" the Pharcyde rose to national prominence, and spent the next three years touring, writing, and recording.

The group invested two years into "Labcabincalifornia", their second Delicious Vinyl album, and released it to both commercial and critical acclaim. The album contained music that was well out of the average range for most groups at the time. "You can hear it when people rush their shit out there," Tre states. "They end up feeding the masses anything. It might take me a year to finish lyrics to one piece, but I know that song's going to be booming." "Over the last three years, we saw a lot, experienced a lot, and learned a lot. That's obviously gonna come out in our music," says Fat Lip.

The Pharcyde recorded the entire album at their Los Angeles Lab Cabin, from which the title takes its name. The group got production help from hip hop masters Diamond D, Buckwild, Grand Mixer DJ M-Walk (one of the pioneers of the world famous 1580 KDAY Mix Master Show) and Q-Tip protégé Jay Dee. "It has a bump factor to it now," Tre explained, "All the music was lighter on the first album. I could never really dance to it the way I wanted to". This now classic record included tracks like "Bullshit", "She Said", "Groupie Therapy" and "Runnin'" - the album's first single. Featuring a rolling tempo and the now famous Spanish guitar loop, the song garnered a Grammy nod, and remains one of Hip Hop's finest moments.