The Pharcyde's live performance affirm their status as the peak of hip hop

When word broke that The Pharcyde were gracing Australian shores again, hip hop fans admittedly went a little insane. And rightfully so – the legendary crew formed in 1989, and have been at the absolute peak of hip hop since their first album Bizarre Ride II followed in 1992. It’s been a number of years since they last performed in Melbourne – where they took to the pre-renovated Espy dungeon along the St Kilda shore – and last Thursday they had Fitzroy’s The Night Cat full. Before two of the four original members, Imani and Bootie Brown, set off to headline Meredith Music Festival, we were blessed with their powerful South Central, Los Angeles, nostalgic throwbacks.

To warm the evening, Soliloquy shared his hip hop tracks of smooth flows and heart warming dedications to the genre and heroes before us. Soliloquy was equipped with a full band for the performance, admitting with pride that he has been studying The Pharcyde since as long as he could remember – even sharing a recent track named ‘Welcome Back From The Pharcyde’. Throughout Soliloquy’s uplifting performance, he dedicated many songs to renowned beat legends that have passed, namely JDILLA and Mac Miller, and their creations were subtly noticeable throughout his performance – an example being ‘You Know What Love Is’ by Slum Village. The support act’s true dedication to hip hop and its foundations was palpable; it’s artists like this that connect fully to the crowds, through honest, true music.

After Soliloquy wrapped up and thanked the crowd, The Pharcyde’s DJ appeared and began scratching. Dressed neatly in a suit yet rocking red Puma clydes – a hint to not be fooled – this guy clearly had something to show. He began with absolutely killer tracks and progressed from old to new, chill to heavy, and anything beat thumping in between. He needn’t wear headphones his skills were so high, sparking even more anticipation in the crowd for the talent ahead.

From the corner of everyone’s eyes, Imani could be seen rapping over his beats, hanging off the stage rails as fans began to rap with him. Bootie Brown jumped over his head, and together they performed pure fire before creating a chant “Pharcydeeeee” and sending the night instantly into full-form. It was no surprise that the star tracks of the night were the classics: ‘Drop’, ‘Passin’ Me By’ and ‘Ya Mama’. Hints of new-day hip hop were dropped throughout the set, reminding punters that the crew are indeed interested and in touch with what’s going on today. Both Imani and Bootie Brown gave their absolute soul to the show, to the point where near ten towels were used to wipe away their sweat. Towards the end of the evening, the chords of ‘Runnin’’ were recognised before the entire venue rapped as one. If this was their side show, I can’t imagine how the duo would have been in the ‘Sup.

Highlight: Seeing Imani and Bootie Brown jump around the stage in all different moves. 

Lowlight: The duo didn’t come on until 11:30pm and I had work the next day.

Favourite Track: ‘Runnin’.