Home Read Classic Album Review: The Pharcyde | Cydeways: The Best of

Classic Album Review: The Pharcyde | Cydeways: The Best of

The L.A. outfit bypass gangsta rap and go in for intelligent, spiritual rhymes.


This came out in 2001 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


Back in the day, not every rapper was a gun-totin’ corner boy tryin’ to front like a mack. Some folks could keep it real while still keeping it real light.

Mostly it was the turf of New York outfits like De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, The Afros and Jungle Brothers. But there was one influential Left Coast troupe on the same twisted tip — L.A.’s Pharcyde. Like their eastern bruddas, they bypassed gangsta rap and went in for intelligent, spiritual rhymes punctuated by punchlines instead of gunfire. And while a best-of might seem odd from a band that only released two albums, that’s no reason to avoid Cydeways. With 15 tracks including one remix and an unreleased cut, this is a top-flight display of the group’s whimsical wordplay, stylistic silliness and merry melody. But there’s always a message behind the mirth, from the anti-drug message of Pack the Pipe to the anti-music biz warning Devil Music. It’s a helluva ride.