The Comeback Kids: Bizarre Ride Live Makes Its Mark on Hip-Hop

Alysia Stern


The Pharcyde is a soulful hip-hop group from the early 1990s. After a breakup, four of the original members reunited. Fatlip, SlimKid3, along with Pharcyde producers J-Sw!ft & L.A. Jay are now performing as Bizarre Ride Live.


 The animated and enthusiastic group is best known for the hit singles "Drop", "Passin' Me By" and "Runnin,'" as well as their first album, Bizarre Ride II the PharcydeHighbrow Magazine recently met with and interviewed the band.  


Highbrow Magazine: So, bring me back to 1991... and what led up to your big world tour?


Fatlip: In high school I went to all the dance scenes in L.A. around 1987. After that I was musically introduced to all the hip-hop coming out that was meant for our generation. I started writing rhymes and getting good at it. I would go to every audition I heard about. I met J-Swift at one of those auditions. From there we met Reggie Andrews and it started to take off from there. We started making beats and decided to become a group, got a record deal and went on tour.


Do you feel today’s hip hop has become less about the music and more about the money?


Fatlip: I understand what you are saying, but I don't feel that. It does seem that way because there is less musicianship; there are no guys playing bass and drums; it’s more electrical. Music is a form of expression of your soul. I remember when people thought hip hop was a fad.


The reason I ask is because back in the day hip hop seemed more soulful. It does not feel that way anymore. When I hear your song “Passing Me By,” it brings me right back to where I was. It’s classic. Its transcending.


Fatlip: We were able to sample from actual musicians. We used clips that were produced by people like Quincy Jones. We added that with a master drummer. Our musical backdrop was crazy. There is no music like that today.


L.A.Jay: It was more soulful. It was raw.


Speaking of soulful, what is your best memory?


Fatlip: There were so many fun experiences. Maybe Rock the Bells when we came back together in 2008, and our kids were on stage with us in front of 50,000 people. For my kids to be with me on stage was a moment for me. It was a long time coming.



L.A. Jay:  J-Swift and I are producers, so from a production standpoint, I did some other stuff also. I was a fan and a peer, my first moment was just hearing the song Passing Me By when it was done. Being a producer is not about being there after the record is made. For us, we want to cultivate something that you know is powerful. I already knew who the fans were going to be before it was even complete. Having had made hundreds of tracks, I had this feeling with that song.


L.A.Jay, you weren't just a producer, you were also a dancer on In Living Color, right?


L.A.Jay: Yes. We danced with Jim Carrey when he did the Vanilla Ice Skit. There were a lot of really dope dancers there. We were at the top of the deal, in LA, as far as dancers are concerned.



Dancing seems to be the same across the board, but did you see a big difference in East Coast vs. West Coast hip hop?


L.A.Jay: It is still different. I have not had my ear to the musical sounds lately as far as that is concerned. But there was an East Coast sound and a West Coast sound. I think Kanye put Chicago on the map.  It is kind of as if everything was supposed to merge the way it should be: just straight-up hip hop. The down south started with OutKast. But the music wanted to fuse everyone in.


Fatlip:  In 2013 the younger generation, they are just picking up influences from everywhere. Its all merging.



Why did you split up again after 2008?


Fatlip: We did not split up on good terms to be honest, unfortunately. After Rock the Bells the issues we had were still not resolved so it just didn’t work.


So where can we find you guys in 2013?


All: We are out here celebrating The Bizarre Ride Live album that brought us together with our fans for 20 years. We are celebrating that. We have been separated for a while doing our own stuff, raising families and stuff like that. But now the four of us are back and making music.


You can find the “Bizare Ride Live” at the following links: @slimkidtre; Delicious Vinyl Records;


Author Bio:

Alysia Stern is a contributing writer at Highbrow Magazine and a radio host.

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