Whittled down to only two original members, Imani Wilcox and Bootie Brown (aka Romye Robinson), and not the two members that many fans would choose to carry the flame, the Pharcyde embraced the immensely soothing aspects of weed for fourth album Humboldt Beginnings. Apparently the duo forgot that narcotics don't exactly focus an artist's efforts. This 22-track record, leavened with the contributions of new members Spaceboyboogie X and "Greg" Smooche, not only councils the smoking of marijuana, but practically demands partaking of it in order to enjoy most of its tracks. Beginning with a bongo-led jam called "Homegrown," it benefits from a raft of workmanlike productions, but in the Pharcyde's attempt to crawl back into the hip-hop limelight, they scatter their efforts working in so many different styles that there's virtually nothing left to their character. The frequent weed songs are interspersed with club thumpers ("The Uh-Huh"), smooth '80s-influenced lovers tracks ("Knew U," "Right B4"), and one of the most hilariously overblown gangsta tracks (perhaps humorous?) ever performed ("Bongloads II"). Even De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest had their own late-career debacles (Stakes Is High, Beats, Rhymes and Life), but those at least featured original lineups.
Humboldt Beginnings Review
by John Bush