Doing some background research for a review of Jay-Z/Kanye’s joint effort, I felt almost obligated to have a closer look at the work of Spike Jonze (aka the banally named Adam Spiegel) who directed the Maybach-annihilating, Aziz-Ansari-cameoing, Ralph-Lauren-model-employing clip for ‘Otis‘ that got me so riled up in the first place. Jonze, I recalled, was the man behind ‘Being John Malkovich’ – the film everyone warned me from watching, labelling it ‘the ultimate mindfuck’, but which I ended up rather enjoying – but I couldn’t quite understand why he was called in on ‘Otis’ to shoot essentially the sort of hooliganism that anyone could have filmed. That was until I stumbled across a page that listed ‘The Top Five Spike Jonze Rap Videos That Are Better Than Otis‘. About a minute into The Pharcyde’s seminal ‘Drop’, I was sold on his capacity to make iconographic, filmic statements.
Walking back to the car from the train station yesterday, I saw a guy stumble out of a bar wearing one of the ‘x&y&z’ t-shirts that were pretty cool when they first dropped but since being applied to every pop-culture phenomenon under the sun – high and low alike, most devastatingly Khloe & Kim & Kourtney (I swear, I saw it) – have become intensely passe. While some combinations like the ubiquitous NWA version (Eazy E & Ren & Dre & Yella – poor Ice Cube gets left off the list) still bring their wearers a little social capital, it has become increasingly difficult to really make a statement or impress anyone with your enumerating capacities. Which is to say that I had to look again at this guy – dreadlocked but otherwise fairly ordinary-looking – as he sported his ‘Pharcyde & De La Soul & Tribe’ iteration. Serious props.
It was the combination of discovering the sensational Jonze-directed clip for the Beastie Boys’ Ad-Rock sampling (3’20”) first single off The Pharcyde’s second album ‘Labcabincalifornia‘ and discovering a version of a faltering fashion statement that really caught my attention that led me to post on ‘Drop’ today. The Pharcyde are by far the lesser known amongst their t-shirt amigos in De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest but not necessarily with reason. With laid-back grooves and the sort of offbeat sampling that, dropped nowadays, would have hipsters the world over salivating, The Pharcyde have a definite vintage quality to their sound but at the same time, boast the sort of production that wouldn’t sound out of place in a more contemporary mixtape. A hummed chorus gives the track a cartoonish lightness, juxtaposed nicely against darker, more sci-fi synths. Just don’t ask me about the alien Janelle Monaean outro.
The Pharcyde – Drop [Video, mindfuck warning]
The Pharcyde – Drop