Since becoming superstars the Black Eyed Peas have played the Grammys and the Super…
- Posted on Jun 17th 2011 1:30PM by Dave Morris
Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images
There are two reasons why reunions happen, and while you can never discount one of them -- money -- as being the motivating factor, it has to warm a fan's heart to hear the genuine enthusiasm coming down the line from Slimkid3 as he kicks it at his home in Portland, Ore. The authors of undisputed rap classics like 1992's 'Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde' and 1995's J-Dilla-produced 'Labcabincalifornia' are getting ready to blow minds at a rare reunion show at NXNE, alongside peers Digable Planets. The show takes place on Sunday, June 19 at Yonge-Dundas Square.
Three of the four original MCs -- the current group is Slimkid3, Bootie Brown and Imani, minus Fatlip -- will no doubt give hits like 'Passin' Me By,' 'Runnin' and 'Drop' a long-overdue re-airing, though artists like Kanye West and OutKast have been keeping their legacy alive, via consistent shout-outs. Reconstituted and enthusiastic, the group is ready to prove why they deserve all that high-profile name checking.
"Everything is pretty positive now," says Slimkid3 as he reflects on the varying vibes in the Pharcyde camp over the years. "There's always darkness before the dawn."
The infectious energy and fertile group chemistry that made 'Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde' such a hit among rap fans craving something outside the gangster template was accompanied by frequent reports of tensions within the group. "I remember when we were making the 'Labcabincalifornia' record, there were just times where we didn't know where things were going. I had friends who were like, 'Man, are you guys even going to make another record? What's going on?' And I always say that the universe knows best, because it actually does."
Dropping a member after each of their two subsequent, underrated albums (2000's 'Plain Rap' without Fatlip, and 2004's 'Humboldt Beginnings' without Slimkid3), the original quartet came back together for the Rock the Bells festival in 2008. And although Fatlip has since moved on once again, the air sounds much clearer than it did back then. Aside from a bit of good-natured teasing, that is.
"Fatlip is a fan of the RZA and he named his kid after the RZA, and we gave him major s---," Slimkid3 recalls with a hearty laugh. "Like, get off his d---, man! Stop d--- riding! We like Wu Tang, too, but I'm not gonna name my daughter Method Man."
The members have kept busy with solo work: Slimkid3 has a freely downloadable new single, 'Baby Don't Take the Fun," Bootie Brown memorably guested on Gorillaz' 'Dirty Harry' among other things and, as Uncle Imani, Imani dropped an EP, 'Black Dustt,' in 2010 as well as a new single, 'L.A. Blazer,' earlier this year. When the inevitable question of new group material comes up, Slimkid3 says, "I think we're just getting around to talking about it, like, to actually make it happen. Like, the other day..."
"I don't mind reminiscing about back in the day when it's celebrating a moment in time, but the present is beautiful as well," says Slimkid3. "I remember Fieldy [Snuts] from Korn telling me, one day when we were just talking about some group or something, the stuff they talked about, and he was like, 'Man, they're just so in the past all the time' ... You know, right now is always the best time in your life."
Figuring out how to balance nostalgia for the past against being in the present is another of those things every reunited act has to deal with. Listening to Slimkid3, the Pharcyde seem better equipped to handle it than most.
"I think that I'm trying to become more grounded in where I am; that will make things relevant," says Slimkid3. "But in such a way that when you write it, it's not dating it -- so that it'll have some longevity and staying power."
It's a sticking point that, for the Pharcyde, seems to have stuck.
The Pharcyde play Yonge-Dundas Square on Sunday, June 19 @9:00PM-9:40PM
See Spinner's Complete Coverage of NXNE 2011