Sold My Soul: The Remix and Rarity Collection
The Funky Chemist, 2005
The members of the early to mid-‘90s incarnation of the Pharcyde (Fat Lip, Slimkid Tre, Imani, and Booty Brown) were hugely prolific musicians brimming with great song ideas. This reality is inescapable when Sold My Soul – a completist’s dream compilation of b-sides, remixes, and rarities – is blasting on your Benzie box. Fans will marvel at the majestic strata of J-Swift’s deeply layered “Fly As Pie” remix of “Passin’ Me By” and savor Jay Dee’s elegantly muted “Y?” (which is far more palatable than the whiny original.) Several producers from outside the Pharcyde’s immediate camp contribute their talents with excellent results. The remix of “Drop” produced by the Beatminerz, for example, tosses the original’s cozily electric vibe aside and cloaks it in a better-fitting barebones funk track. Similarly, remixes of “Ya Mama‿ by the renowned producers Matt Dike and Kenny Dope remain true to their distinctive styles while retaining the original song’s memorably raucous feel.
Many of the remixes are really re-recordings and as such feature vocals that are dramatically altered from their originals. These instances demonstrate the collective ability of the group to convincingly rap, shout, scat, whisper, and ad-lib their way through most any track. The wise inclusion of serious, high-minded non-album cuts like “Just Don’t Matter, “Pandemonium” and the poignant “My Soul” (re-recorded as the inferior “Devil Music” for Labcabincalifornia) seems at first to provide a needed balance. These songs actually work to shed light on the group’s subtly eclectic modes of expression, which can range from evasively humorous to disturbingly confessional to seething and angry in a single song.
For the purposes of providing a better understanding of the group’s musical approach and blessing non-DJ fans, Sold My Soul is a welcome and perhaps overdue treat. However, two discs of material is simply too much to sit through. Four remixes of a one song (“Ya Mama”) are included and several of the remixes on the second disc prove to be more impressive as theoretical feats of production than as recorded songs. Sold My Soul is not for everyone, but hip hop fans who appreciated the group’s originality should listen through it at least once.