I hit play on my mp3 player and Pac Div's 'Church League Champions' mixtape surged up through the earphones. The lyrics flowed smoothly, my head started nodding and that's when it hit me. Pac Div are fast on the rise in the hip hop world and during the interview they gave me, it was obvious that these guys were different from the stereotypical rappers I was used to listening to. They have something new to offer and it's so refreshing you can't help but like them.
Let's hope Pac Div are not afraid of heights because this Californian trio are headed for a rapid leap into the skies of the music world. Brothers Like and Mibbs with longstanding friend BeYoung have been creating some waves in the industry. They're signed to Universal Motown, they have a new album due out for release and even before that album arrives they are dropping a new mixtape for fans. Pac Div work hard for their cash and it's now time for the boys to push their work and earn what's been coming their way.
What makes these guys any different from what's already playing in the hip hop scene? They've been creating music together since the early 2000s and with every song they keep on improving on what was already quality sounds. They've made their way from nobody to somebody by being true to themselves, learning with open ears and respecting those around them. They produce talented music that varies from lighthearted, humorous rhymes to lyrics that run true to their lives.
They have been affiliated with some of hip hop's biggest artists. Q-Tip, Busta Rhymes, Nas, and Ludacris have all shared the stage with Pac Div. When asked about whether it's been hard to stay grounded after working with such high class artists, Pac Div answered, "We keep a small circle around us and we keep good people around us… As long as you keep that good circle of people with that good energy around you, it kinda' helps you stay grounded. We just keep working, movin' forward." What have they learned from working with such high caliber musicians? "Speak less, learn more. Just Observe. You listen to the person with more experience." They have had shout outs by top artists such as Snoop Dogg, 9th Wonder to Talib Kweli. These guys are running hot.
So hot in fact that Universal Motown signed them on their label, which is one of the hottest recording companies in the world. With a company like that backing you and approval by such well known rappers, it must be an exciting period for them. "It's taken us places that we've never been before. We don't work jobs anymore," they answer with such sheer grounding that they are fortunate enough to be in this position. Has this record label helped with the progress of their music? They jump onto this quickly, "They're like having a big brother. We work within our own unit and they come in and kick the door open." They seem happy to have artistic license to work music to their own direction. It seems important that Pac Div be able to weave their own tunes without being forced into creating a sound that may not be them and for this they are grateful to Universal Motown.
'Church League Champions' is their second mixtape release. It shows a mix of what the guys are really about. It has some playful tracks and alongside those, they share what their path, to this point, has been like. When I heard each song for the first time, some stood out for me more than others. I took an instant liking to 'Knuckleheadz' which drops some dirty beats, sounds deep and the lyrics flow so easily. It's a definite head nodder. The recent release of the 'Whiplash' video clip shows the style that Pac Div role with. It's stepped up from their previous music videos and it shows their maturation since moving over to the new label. It's a classy clip and the song fits the same style. If you want to hear another side to team then have a listen to Mayor. It's sound is reminiscent to the old school 80's rap style which brings a smile but it's done in good taste and is such a catchy tune.
Pac Div have a new album being released titled Grown Kid Syndrome. They tell me, "The new album drops first quarter of next year."
So what can we expect from this new release? "We go to so many different places with each song. All the songs are in the theme of a person who still lives at home with their parents. When you listen to grown kids, they're still trying to figure out their way in life, they're not perfect, they make mistakes, but they're still happy with themselves. It's like you feel good, you leave the house and you just go and start your day and all that stuff happens but (at the end of the day) you still go back to your Mamma's house."
So with the release of the new album, who has been their producer of choice? Pac Div run with their own in-house producer Swift D. They have the utmost regard for their long time friend. "In our eyes, he's the greatest producer because he can craft anything to our liking. We just really think he's dope. We respect all producers but Swift really does it for us."
They don't just stop at the upcoming release of the new album either. Pac Div are packing their sweat into another release and creating some Christmas cheer for their fans. "We got a surprise comin' before Christmas… another mixtape. It's all original production and this one is stoopid. This one is great." Sounds like we will all be getting a little something from Santa by way of the Pac Div release.
Mibbs, BeYoung, and Like have been given access to a world that only a few hip hop artists are able to see. They appreciate what they have, don't follow the guidelines of the usual stereotypes and they may even stray a little from the radar of traditional hip hop. They do this though without breaking too far from its roots and they bring a clean new flow but remain respectful to the old school sounds. Pac Div have risen and if you're not on-board yet, you might just want to be, because they are going to explode into the New Year with some worthy sounds.