SLIMKID3 (born Tre Hardson) first introduced himself to the world as an MC and founding member of the legendary hip hop quartet The Pharcyde. Equal parts musical visionaries and impish class clowns, the fresh-faced Los Angeles natives ushered in a golden era of hip hop with their critically acclaimed debut, Bizarre Ride II: The Pharcyde. The album, released in 1992, gave hip hop one of its most enduring classics—“Passing Me By”—and unwittingly defined the sound of a generation. Bizarre Ride’s cartoonish lyrical landscape, laced with jazz-laden loops, lounge-style piano breaks, and “ya mama” jokes, ultimately secured the Pharcyde’s position as icons in hip hop history. Nearly two decades after the now classic Bizarre Ride was certified Gold, it was named by Kanye West as his favorite hip hop album of all time.
With the Pharcyde, Slimkid3 toured for two consecutive years with the Lollapalooza festival, shared bills in Europe and Japan with De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest, and recorded a sophomore album, entitled Labcabincalifornia, with legendary producer J Dilla. The J Dilla collaboration “Runnin’” and the surreal anthem “Drop” today remain classic hip hop standards. Throughout the Pharcyde’s song catalog, Slimkid3 can be recognized for his soulful vocal tone and coolly observant raps. His signature style seamlessly weaves singing into rap verses, delivering a lilting, melodic quality to songs like “4 Better or 4 Worse,” “Otha Fish,” and “She Said.” In the years following the release of Labcabincalifornia, Slimkid3 would show his versatility as a performer on a number of projects, including a collaboration with California metal band Korn on their 1998 multiplatinum release Follow the Leader.
In 2000, Slimkid3 began to pursue a solo career, exploring the boundaries of hip hop with a live band. A full-length album, Liberation, was released in 2002 through Artist Direct/BMG Records under his given name, Tre Hardson. Liberation offered a mature blend of sophisticated musicianship, Bill Withers-esque love ballads, and a highly personal examination of life, love, and spiritual evolution. It also features appearances from Saul Williams, MC Lyte, and Chali 2na. Another full-length LP, Slimkid3’s Café, followed in 2006.
In the decade following his departure from the Pharcyde, Slimkid3 also worked with R&B songstress Mya, and appeared on the N.A.S.A. song “Hip-hop” with KRS-One and Fatlip. He toured for more than a year as the resident MC with Grammy winners Ozomatli, and teamed up with bluesman G. Love on his 2008 album Superhero Brother, laying down casually rhythmic rhymes on the hazy, lazy ode to ganja “Who’s Got the Weed.”
All four original members of the Pharcyde reunited in 2008 for a highly anticipated run on the main stage of the international “Rock the Bells” hip hop festival, performing to sold out crowds alongside Nas, De La Soul, Method Man and Red Man, and A Tribe Called Quest. The group continued to tour together throughout 2009, captivating international audiences across Europe and Australia, and headlining sold-out shows in Los Angeles and at the legendary Fillmore West in San Francisco.
Since 2009, Slimkid3 has also put his deep knowledge of music and beat production to work as a DJ, co-founding Live & Direct PDX, a monthly party event in Portland, Oregon, featuring live remixing of classic hip-hop favorites.
Slimkid3 is currently also touring alongside his former Pharcyde bandmate Fatlip, and Bizarre Ride II: The Pharcyde producers J-Swift and LA Jay, in the critically acclaimed “Bizarre Ride Live,” a multimedia concept show featuring all the songs and skits from the Pharcyde’s classic first album, as well as new material.
This fall, he unveiled a collaborative project with DJ Nu-Mark of Jurassic 5. The duo’s self-titled album Slimkid3 & DJ Nu-Mark, released in September 2014 on Delicious Vinyl, has quickly risen to the top of the college and rap charts, galvanizing both old-school hip hop fans and a new generation of music consumers.
From his Gold-selling early-90s debut to his chart-topping new release, Slimkid3 brings a timeless quality to music that has long propelled hip hop’s golden-era sound into the future.