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Today in Hip-Hop: The Pharcyde Release ‘Labcabincalifornia’

On this day, Nov. 14, in hip-hop history…

The Bicycle Music Company
The Bicycle Music Company

1995: Soulful hip-hop collective The Pharcyde solidified themselves as a group to be reckoned with on their debut album, Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde, in 1992. Bringing a funky vibe to the California sound at the height of gangsta rap, Bootie Brown, Slim Kid Tre, Imani and Fatlip mirrored the style of their East Coast counterparts with an attitude that screamed West Coast.

With their follow-up Labcabincalifornia, The Pharcyde continued to supply bangers that remain popular over two decades later. “Runnin'” was the biggest single from the album. The J. Dilla-produced cut combined with the ingenious wordplay from Fatlip, Slim Kid Tre and Imani made it the standout track of the group’s career. Peaking at No. 35 on Billboard Hot 100, “Runnin'” became a mainstay on the charts for 20 weeks.

The Pharcyde were also innovative and unafraid to step outside of the norm, which they made clear in their visuals. For the Labcabincalifornia single “Drop,” the guys flexed through the city streets as the video played backwards. They also teamed up with linguistic experts to learn how to perform the song backwards as well. “Drop” sampled Beastie Boys’ “The New Style” and received a place on the charts the following year in 1996.

Songs from Labcabincalifornia have been used in films, television shows and sampled in dozens of other rap songs. 22 years later, the album remains a favorite for fans of conscious Cali rap.

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