Today in Hip-Hop History: November 24th, 2016
808s & Heartbreaks by Kanye West
Bizarre Ride II by The Pharcyde
Today marks the eight year anniversary of Kanye West’s 808s & Heartbreaks, and the 24 year anniversary of The Pharcyde’s Bizarre Ride II. Usually, here at TrueToo we try to keep it at one monumental point in history for each article, but with two making such stark impacts it wasn’t hard to bend the rules.
808s was another groundbreaking album, with Mr. West drastically changing the style of his music from squirrelly soul samples to deep virtual synths, somber piano keys, and auto-tune. Composed well and drastically different from the hip-hop heard otherwise at the time, the album received positive reviews throughout with four singles such as “Love Lockdown” and “Heartless” upon release. Looking back, it’s easy to generalize 808s & Heartbreaks as an electro-synth pop R&B album opposed to being heavily hip-hop like his previous albums. A risky leap, Kanye easily reaped the rewards with the album elevating him further into musical relativity with his dynamic ability to execute projects with precision, despite having styles being outside of his element.
Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde’s debut album in the early 90’s, and was considered genre-defying in an era where the West Coast was dominated by the style we know today as gangsta rap. Fun and funky, Bizarre Ride II was refreshing to say the least, contrasting the low-key pianos and boom-bap to jazzy, fast-paced tracks. Pharcyde didn’t just release an album, they created what Kanye did with 808s & Heartbreaks. While influenced by east-coast rap instrumentals, this was still an album widely unheard of in the west-coast, and because of it, critic reviews were wildly mixed.
With both albums being genre-defying and breaking the mold of what we would expect hip-hop to be, The Pharcyde and Kanye West did something monumental on this day. They changed the game.