“Drop” – The Pharcyde Essay

990 words - 4 pages

The Pharcyde is an alternative rap quartet from South Central Los Angeles founded by MCs/producers: Tre "Slimkid" Hardson, Derrick "Fatlip" Stewart, Emandu “Imani” Wilcox, and Romye "Booty Brown" Robinson (AllMusic). In the late 1980s, Hardson, Robinson, and Wilcox worked together as dancers and choreographers in the Los Angeles underground club circuit (AllMusic). Stewart joined the group in 1990 and under the guidance of a high school music teacher they gained knowledge of the recording process and the music industry (AllMusic). The Pharcyde “maintained a willfully weird vision” with their music in contrast to a large number of West Coast rappers in this time period that focused primarily ...view middle of the document...


The video begins with the sounds of a record being scratched as the members of The Pharcyde begin walking down a side street of Los Angeles. There is a surreal quality to their movement. Thirty seconds into the video, as three of the group members rise up from the ground into a standing position it becomes clear that they are moving backwards and the film is being played in reverse. Although the concept for a backwards video seems relatively simple, it is incredibly difficult to achieve the desired effect. When The Pharcyde approached Spike Jonze to direct their video, he agreed to do it if the group were to “memorize their song phonetically backwards so it would sync up with the film when played forward” (PetaPixel). The group hired a linguist to “help them formulate the phonetic sounds of the backwards rapping, and spent a week memorizing these reverse phonetic lyrics” (PetaPixel).
The first verse comes to an end and the scene shifts to a crowded sidewalk in front of a movie theater. During the ten-second interlude between verses, the sound sample featured at the beginning of the song returns and the Beastie Boys themselves make a cameo appearance on screen. The video transitions to another location as the members of The Pharcyde emerge half-dressed and appear to be putting on their clothes as they walk down the sidewalk. To accomplish this effect they were filmed walking backwards as they removed their clothing. The scene shifts to the group walking down a flight of stairs as basketballs fly over their heads and bounce up the steps. All people and objects in the video, other than the members of The Pharcyde, are in reverse; this creates an interesting juxtaposition of images and ideas.
The final scene of the video shows the group members walking down another side street as they put the rest of their clothes...

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