Pharcyde of town

Pharcyde of town

By Gilbert Garcia

Pharcyde should be recognized as hip-hop legends. After all, this South Central quartet - composed of dancers whose resumes include a stint on In Living Color - did as much as anyone to recast West Coast rap as something more than an outlet for gangsta provocations. The group's 1992 debut CD, Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde, was a surreal, clever kaleidoscope in the spirit of artsy auteurs such as A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, and the Beastie Boys, and it's proven to be an enduring influence on everyone from Blackalicous to Jurassic Five to Dilated Peoples.

Unfortunately, Pharcyde struggled to match the creative heights of its first offering, and by 2000, the group was reduced to a duo, with founding members Derrick "Fat Lip" Stewart and Tre Hardson gone to pursue solo careers.

C-Rayz Walz,

Wylde Bunch

Friday, July 2
603 Red River, Austin

With a new disc, Humbolt Beginnings, due in July, Pharcyde refuses to concede the fight, but the group is stuck in a hip-hop time warp from which it's unlikely to escape. Not remotely contemporary anymore, the group doesn't quite qualify for the elder-statesman category either. Its heyday was too brief, its popular appeal too cultish to be accorded the kind of respect that even an inspired one-shot like De La Soul gets.

Joining Pharcyde on its current tour are X-ecutioners, C-Rayz Waltz, and Wylde Bunch. The X-ecutioners - a DJ ensemble featuring Rob Swift, Roc Raida, and Total Eclipse - should be worth the price of admission alone, with turntable gymnastics and beat savvy that suggest the real, legacy of Pharcyde's initial achievement.

By Gilbert Garcia

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