April 10, 2012

What is Cydeways?

Well, there's a clue in the title.  Yup, you probably guessed it, The Pharcyde are cydeways, and it's a pretty good way of describing their musical style.  As it happens, I own very little of the Pharcyde's catalogue, but there's no denying that they are one of the most original hip hop groups ever to hit the industry.

The Pharcyde are often cited as one of 'the greats' and their debut LP Bizarre Ride to the Pharcyde is an agreed classic, but too often it is forgotten that The Pharcyde's creativity doesn't stop with their music.  Their music videos have been consistently innovative since day one, and if they don't opt for a zany concept, they do something with the visuals to keep an otherwise simple video very intriguing.

Their most famous music video for Passin' Me By has everyone hanging upside down whilst presented to the viewer as being the right way up, coupled with the monochrome effect, which looks beautiful.  And let's not forget the incredible Drop, filmed in reverse to perfection and entirely captivating for the whole 4 minutes of the video. 
Compare either of these videos to the crazy diss track Ya Mama or the obscure Pandemonium (from the Street Fighter soundtrack), or even Fat Lip's solo effort What's Up Fat Lip.  Which ever you choose, there is no comparing them, no common thread or style, it's just straight up creative artwork. 

So although their home music video Cydeways - The Best of the Pharcyde isn't anything in particular to write home about, it's really good to see back to back quality videos from one of Hip Hop's most experimental groups.  There are brief clips of them performing on tour, interview snippets, a few words from Ice-T etc, but I didn't think any of this really added that much to what is essentially a collection of their earliest official music videos.  But don't let that put you off.

To judge an artist you cannot look at one painting, you need to see their collection, and this collection shows just how great The Pharcyde really are.  So take a look and remember the Pharcyde's golden era, and once again appreciate the music video as an item that compliments the music and not just a promotional vehicle to sell records. 
This is a relatively rare and unseen DVD, despite it being easy to obtain from Amazon etc.  It was released back in 2002.

On a side note, you might be able to help me.  I used to have a Pharcyde video from the time when there was just two of them left, but I can't remember what it was called and I can't find it on PooTube.  Can anyone tell me its title?
The best description I can give is that there's two of them in jail suits or overalls (I think) and they're rapping in a street.  Then the black bars at the top and bottom of the screen (that are usually only visible when watching a wide screen movie) start closing in on them, and then vertical black bars close in until they're in just a little box.  Again, it's a great concept video and I want to get another copy.  Any suggestions would be gratefully received, just leave me a comment below, thanks.

Video Track List
Ya Mama
Passin' Me By
Otha Fish
4 Better or 4 Worse
She Said

Cydeways - The Best of The Pharcyde by FoaWP

Mike Check

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