"Plain Rap" was the return album from The West Coast Hip Hop crew The Pharcyde. Imani, Bootie Brown, Slimkid3 and Fatlip came back with this 2000 album a good five years after their last and eight years after breaking through with an album containing hit alternative Hip hop tunes such as "Ya Mama", "4 Better Or 4 Worse" and "Passin' Me By".
Getting things going to show how they have progressed their material in the half decade in which many significant changes occurred in the Hip Hop world, and so as you here what sounds to be essentially the same kind of stuff coming through here as before, it does have fans excited, but I didn't think it did anything all that exciting.
With The Roots' Black Thought supporting them you see that here you get one which has them group laying down a tune which has them moving things on quite a bit for a joint which sounds to have been much more accepting of the newer trend of the time with production which suits it, but with flows which remind you of the late eighties and early nineties Jazz Rap, it doesn't really sound that relevant to the Millennium listeners (aside from Thought's flows).
Here you see that they get down to some rather generic material in which you see that they try to bring back their underground sound through one which has them on some head-bobbing beats, but it really doesn't do anything to get listeners into it and to be excited by what is found on it. It is amongst the worst here, and I can't really see where the appeal comes.
The funkiness which you find in the production of this one is an element which you simply can't resist getting down to as it shows that they are able to bring back their breakthrough years effectively for this time. Here It sounded much better than all of the ones leading up to it because they stick to what they are good at and don't try to hard to do something which is out of their reach.
Following in a fairly lengthy introduction, you see that with this one you get a track which I would have to liken to the sort of material that you got form OutKast around 1994 as here you see Imani taking on Dré's role with the complex lyricism on some freaky beats which have you two-stepping to the dark grooves.
Here you see that with some floating beats, they choose that for this one one they can't resist getting down to something which really supports what the generic sound of the time was with some general rap as they choose to turn their attention to focusing their rhymes about smoking cannabis, and for this reason I felt it was rather unoriginal for them and it didn't go down as well as it should have.
Here you have a track from them which i would have to say is of the lower standard which you tend to get from their material with one which has them choosing to move away from the things which made them so unique in exchange from really poor material put together in a weak structure. It is a poor one and a great contrast to what you got from their classic debut.
8. "Sock" (Lude)
You see that they bounce back here with one which brings back the quality in what you get form the record as you see that here they get down to one which has them flowing with some production which brings you right in and takes you down to their new approach for this album. It is a spacey one and quite alternative but definitely one of the better ones here.
The bounce which you get form the beats in this one is something which you can't help to get down with here and I felt that this meant that you couldn't help but get down to the material in this one and I felt that this masked the fact that there is clearly a drop in the standard of their flows by this point.
11. "Front Line"
You see that with this one you have a bit of an early nineties feel to the way in which the overall sound of the thing is done, and I felt that in spite of the fact this is usually a positive thing, in this case it simply couldn't' be said for it as it has them getting down to something which tries to get down to some socially-conscious stuff, but doesn't do it in a way which has kept up with the time.
Ending the thing here you have a track which really represents the album well in that it is seen to get them performing one which has them trying their hardest to attempt to fit in with the trends in trying out alternative material which does away with conventions, but it is done in a rather tacky manner (when you compare it to what Common, Erykah Badu and OutKast were up to at this time).
I have to say tha this album was a real disappointment, and I can't really see how anyone could see it any other way as it sees the group coming to perform and album which is a long distance from the flawlessness of their debut, and subsequent hits such as "Runnin'", "She Said" and "Drop". It's not worth owning, and even if you liked their first two, you shouldn't hope to get anything near the same sort of quality from it.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
8 Sock Skit