If rap music has taught people anything, it's that even the annoying shimmer of a Mercedes Benz and a pool of high-price hookers can't overshadow true talent. Surprisingly enough, it became clear that the Pharcyde is one of hip-hop's few modern ensembles that stares down modern-day rap and challenges it to a fight. Crafty and cool, Cydeways isn't necessarily genius. Its off-beat and stylistic rhythms and rhymes are an acquired taste at best. But the album still carries innovation that hasn't been touched in years: rap music thriving on a genuine mix of fact, fiction, humor, and memory. "Runnin," "Ya Mama," and "Oh Shit" are creative excerpts from a diary that these boys have carefully crafted. It becomes a kind of coming-of-age story, from making jokes about each other's mother to getting their ass kicked in school. Its undeniable soul is what makes the Pharcyde an underappreciated addition to hip-hop's overplayed and overrated existence in the coming century. So if you still believe in hip-hop, but have become intimidated by its current barrage of smut, simplicity and stupidity, fear not friends -- the Pharcyde's got your back.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Darren Ratner