by David Downs
“Oh, sh*t. Has it really been 20 years?” Yup, the seminal hip hop album “Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde” turns 20 this year, spawning a nostalgia tour that swings through San Francisco tonight.
“Bizarre Ride Live” tonight at 1015 Folsom in San Francisco's SOMA District will re-unite co-founders and former members of The Pharcyde, Fatlip and Slimkid3, with “Bizarre Ride ...” producers J-Sw!ft and L.A. Jay for a performance of the gold album in its entirety.
Produced by Low End Theory, tickets are $20 for the all-ages show, which is expected to sell out. (And if fans can't make it to the city tonight, “Bizarre Ride Live” holds court at Amoeba Records in Berkeley tomorrow, August 4.)
The Pharcyde soon become an archetypal E! True Hollywood story. Artistic differences and personality conflicts, and later drug problems with cocaine, crack, alcohol and ecstasy dissolved the original line-up within a few years. Co-founder Imani holds the rights to the name The Pharcyde, Slimkid3 said. Imani and Bootie Brown are still beefing with Fatlip and Slimkid3 after all these years.
“[A reunion] could really be a beautiful thing. We're all older,” he said. “All I can really say is the best to them.”
He said the sound could be better with the other two members involved, but they don't want to be a part of it. Working together doesn't come easy. “Dealing with Fatlip, we used to argue like a motherfucker, like, I fucking hated that guy.”
Slimkid3 has learned some relationship skills over the last twenty years, he said. “It's not about the ego, it's about, 'Damn, let's make this magic happen.'”
All four co-founders share co-production credits and co-writing credits for most of the entire album. “We all own the music. I would do the music even if they told me not to. It's like, 'Go fuck yourself'.”
“Bizarre Ride Live” also has the album's two producers J-Sw!ft and L.A. Jay. Swift had publicly battled a crack addiction. “It really shocked the shit outta me to be honest,” Slimkid3 said. “I would have never thought in a million years he would be someone who was consumed by that demon. I thought it was a fucking joke. 'Who dared him to do that?' Then he got hooked on it.
“Drugs is really hard. I've did mine. Everybody did their own little thing. 'Shrooms, ecstasy, coke. I'm glad he was someone that survived. I'm glad Fatlip survived. We're here now. We're all blessed to be around each other and do something positive.
“J-Swift is doing pretty good. I'm really happy for that guy.”
As a Portlander, Slimkid3, aka Tre Hardson, will have the opportunity to vote on Oregon marijuana legalization Measure 80 this Fall, which would legalize marijuana sales to adults, as well as create a legal marijuana and hemp industry in the state. Hardson's for it, he said.
“I think marijuana should definitely be legalized,” he said. “If anything is no fucking big deal it's marijuana.”
“It's generally not my fight, but where people go to jail for it, that's a big one, that's the most backward shit ever. Arrest people that are murdering. Focus on real dangers. I don't think it's weed.”
Hardson prefers a bottle of champagne these days to anything illicit, though the hangovers have become brutal. His rider tonight is filled with "Jolly Ranchers, Jelly Bellys, gourmet cheeses, and a couple salamis.”
Fatlip is more of a diva in his old age, he jokes. “All yellow M&Ms, with a hole punched directly through the middle. Like with a hole puncher, you know? Through the middle of all my yellow M&Ms.”
“We're just really, really happy to be 20 years in to the Bizarre Ride,” said Slimkid3. “Come with an open mind. Hear. Let's party. Let's jam, come sing along, let's dance like nobody's watching.”