Pac Div Interview
|Label:||The Div/RBC Records|
|Next Project:||Grown Kid Syndrome|
|Twitter:||Pac Div on Twitter|
|Website:||Pac Div's Website|
With a sound that never quite fit into the SoCal box, scrappy rap trio Pac Div may have seemed like a long shot, but if there’s one lesson we’ve learned from sports movies, it’s that the underdog always wins (unless you’re Rocky, in which case you have to wait for the sequel). In true cinematic fashion, brothers Like and Mibbs and longtime friend BeYoung have triumphed against long odds, clinching the big game and walking home with the trophy (that is to say, the major deal). Now reigning supreme as Church League Champions, Pac Div are preparing to undertake their toughest challenge to date: establishing themselves as ballers on the national scene.
Signed to Universal Motown earlier this year, the trio who brought us innovative cuts like “FAT Boys” and “Shut Up” as well as Nice & Smooth collabo “Funky For You ‘09” are currently hard at work on their first studio album, Grown Kid Syndrome. Centered around the transition from childish adulthood to true maturity, the full-length is projected to hit store shelves and online retailers in the first quarter of 2010.
In an exclusive interview with our own DJ “Z,” Pac Div steps into the Booth to discuss their high hopes for the next decade of hip-hop, what they’d change about their hometown and the music game if they were collectively elected “Mayor,” and Z’s difficulties with the Church League Champions online game.
Listen to the Interview
Pac Div Interview Transcription
DJ Booth: What’s goin’ on, everybody? It’s your boy, “Z,” doin’ it real big, and joining me inside the DJ Booth is a fresh, young trio from Southern California, whose music we featured well before they signed their major label deal with Universal Motown. Please welcome Like, Mibbs, and BeYoung of Pac Div. Fellas, how you doin’?
Pac Div: What’s up? How’s it goin’, man?
DJ Booth: Thank you for joinin’ me inside the DJ Booth, guys.
BeYoung: Thanks for havin’ us, bro.
DJ Booth: Absolutely. While I was preparing for this interview, I stumbled upon the Church League Champions game at your website. I played as Mibbs my first time. My high score from behind the arc was 18, and from the free throw line was 12. So I wanna know, how pathetic were those numbers?
Mibbs: Yeah, that’s a bad representation of the character you were playing as. I get my buckets, man – I’m usually [scoring] 80 points at least.
DJ Booth: I was having a hard time with the mouse. I think I was shootin’ way too far and high and wide – the ball was sailing over the basket.
Mibbs: That game is kinda difficult to play.
DJ Booth: You’re making me feel better, knowing that I’m not the only person who’s suffered during the game.
Like: My highest score was a hundred and twenty-something. Somebody got, like, 201 up there, I don’t know how they did that.
DJ Booth: 201? Okay, then I feel really bad that I got 18. I’ve gotta practice.
DJ Booth: Guys, your newest project, the DJBooth.net-approved Church Leagues Champions mixtape, is dedicated to anybody with dreams and aspirations. Signed to a major label and on the national radar, do you guys keep mounting those dreams, or are they being checked off as you go?
BeYoung: We just want everybody to realize that you’ve got to recognize the humble beginnings and work your way up. We’re not afraid of doin’ the small things, and anything that comes our way we just adapt to it, and we put it in and we adjust it to the plan and we just keep movin’. That’s the whole plan: just tryin’ to stay positive and keep forward.
DJ Booth: The basketball theme was used as a metaphor for competing against all odds, trying to be victorious while the underdog. The group clearly is in a place where a lot of artists, I’m sure, are striving to reach, but do you guys feel like you’re still the underdog?
Mibbs: Oh yeah, we still take the underdog approach to the music, ‘cause there’s still a lot of people who don’t know who we are. And, bein’ ignorant of somebody, you have doubts already in your mind, like, “Are these dudes good enough?” So we come at the game with that underdog approach ‘cause we know how good we are, it’s just that everybody else doesn’t know. And once we get the whole world to know, then we’re not the underdogs no more, we’re the champs.
DJ Booth: Give ‘em a little bit of time, they’ll figure it out.
Mibbs: Yeah, they’ll figure it out…
DJ Booth: Fellas, in July I got to see you perform at the L.A. House of Blues as part of the Great Hangover Tour with Asher, CuDi, and B.o.B. Aside from the fact that you were the hometown favorites, the crowd went absolutely nuts when you performed “Mayor.” If you did as that song says and ran for mayor, obviously collectively, what are a few changes that you would make first week in office?
Mibbs: The fist change I would make, I would give a lot of people in the school system their jobs back, because a lot of people in the school districts are losin’ their jobs. So I would help them, with that. Just a lot of budgeting issues. I feel like that’s a big problem in, I guess, the world today, so if we were mayors of the world I would just change the budgeting.
BeYoung: Yeah, the Los Angeles Unified School District has the least amount of money in it. We’d get some more money into the school system and get kids books. A lot of kids don’t even have books out here, it’s crazy.
DJ Booth: Were you guys aware of all this when you were in school, or has it become more apparent as you’ve grown older and seen how it affects everybody else?
Mibbs: It started out when we were in high school. In our last few years of high school, we were noticing that things were changing, the books were gettin’ older, so I can only imagine what these kids are dealin’ with in class right now. There’s a lot of distractions; you can open up your cell phone and get a lot more information in your cell phone than you used to back in the day.
DJ Booth: That’s if your high school doesn’t ban cell phones. My high school banned cell phones – I don’t know what that was about.
Mibbs: Oh yeah, man. We couldn’t use cell phones in our high school days either. Nowadays everybody’s usin’ ‘em in school.
DJ Booth: Unfortunately, when I was in high school, they didn’t have anything like a Blackberry, though – that would’ve come in handy.
Mibbs: Yeah, iPhones would’ve been very handy in high school, during tests.
DJ Booth: Absolutely. Let’s say you guys were elected to be the mayors of the hip-hop industry. So, two questions: one, how would you use the hypothetical power to revolutionize this industry and, two, who would you hire to be your secretary?
Mibbs: I would use my powers to somehow make everybody honest, make every rapper honest. Our secretary would have to be… damn, who would it be? It would be a nice-looking female, I know that. It would be…
Like: Alicia Keys.
Mibbs: Yeah, Alicia Keys, she would be my secretary. Yeah, she’s perfect!
DJ Booth: I don’t know if you guys got the memo or not, but Alicia is already my secretary, so she’s off the market.
Mibbs: Yeah, I’m hearing that she’s off the market, but things change. [laughs]
DJ Booth: Guys, most children don’t have political aspirations, so I doubt that, when you grew up, “Mayor” is what any of you wanted to be. But before you discovered your musical talents, what did each of you want to be when you grew up?
Mibbs: I think we all wanted to be basketball players. I know it sounds cliché, three young, black males that wanted to play basketball, but we were actually really good players. Things happen in life, and you realize everybody else is chasin’ that same dream, too. Yeah, I would want to be a basketball player or just a straight-up businessman, and I know we still have time to become very successful businessmen now. All our dreams aren’t shattered – at least we’re fulfilling one of them, and we’re gonna fulfill so many more with this one dream.
DJ Booth: Well I’ll tell you what: as long as you guys are successful at what you do, who knows? Maybe in the future you can buy a basketball team.
Mibbs: Yeah, yeah, that’s the goal! [laughs]
DJ Booth: I watched the video for “Pac Div” the single, which you released in June. I noticed that, Like, you were rockin’ a San Jose Sharks hat, and I think that that might have been the first rap video I’ve ever seen where someone rocked a San Jose Sharks hat. So, are you a hockey fan, or are you just diggin’ the colors of the cap?
Like: Yes and yes. We are hockey fans, all of us. I like the San Jose Sharks, but I also really like the colors. But we play NHL Live all the time, at the crib.
Mibbs: I use the Washington Capitals. I’m Ovechkin, I’m Ovechkin with the puck! [laughs]
BeYoung: To get serious, we be on the NHL on the Xbox.
DJ Booth: From what I understand, hockey video games are actually very tough to navigate, unlike an NBA 2k9. Are they as tough as they seem?
BeYoung: You’ve got ice, man, and you you can fight too, so not only do you gotta watch slippin’ but you can get knocked out.
DJ Booth: West Coast hip-hop for a good portion of this decade kinda became stale. There are plenty of familiar faces, but the faces just seem to get older and older and older. So, along with artists like Fashawn, Nipsey Hussle, and U-N-I, how can Pac Div help to reestablish a sense of dominance and respect moving into the new decade?
Mibbs: Hopefully we can inspire people to just wanna do them, we can inspire people to not wanna follow trends and try to be the flavor of the week or the flavor of the month, we can actually inspire people to tap into their own thing and carve out their own niche.
DJ Booth: When you guys are making music, what do you do to insure that you are carving out your own niche, and that you’re not duplicating anything else that’s out?
BeYoung: We just make sure we’re keepin’ ourselves. You know, when words come out your mouth every day, in everyday conversation, you know if they’re true to you or not, so we just try to maintain that within the lyrics and the songs that we write. We try to make sure everything is dear to our heart and for real, we’re not just sayin’ anything, just ‘cause it sounds cool. It’s actually what we’re living and what our thoughts are and what our opinions are.
Mibbs: Yeah, and it’s also good that we have a good producer, who gives us a nice canvas to paint on – good songs don’t come without good beats.
DJ Booth: Guys, the title of your impending debut with Universal Motown is Grown Kid Syndrome. How would someone know if they suffered from this clinically-unrecognizable condition?
BeYoung: You’re still leaving crumbs on the counters at your parents’ house, you’re still leaving drawers around the house, you’re just irresponsible. You’re just a man trying to find your way in the world, or if you’re a girl you’re a girl tryin’ to find yourself in the world, but you still have those childish habits you just can’t seem to break away from.
Mibbs: Yeah, and if you’re in a relationship and you’re always messing up, always getting caught doing something you’re not supposed to be doing, while you’ve got a girlfriend or something like that, those are all Grown Kid Syndrome attributes.
DJ Booth: Are these attributes something that you guys all deal with at this point in your life, or is this kind of a “This is what we went through – but not anymore.”
Mibbs: It’s moreso what we went through, but every day there’s a challenge. You’ve gotta break out of the old mode of yourself, you’ve gotta look at stuff you did in the past, like “Aw man, I’ve gotta do things differently next time. Every day is a learning experience, and the Grown Kid Syndrome is slowly erasing itself out of our bodies.
DJ Booth: Okay, that’s good, as long as it doesn’t take with it your musical abilities.
Mibbs: It won’t take that away. By the next album, we’ll probably be on some Frank Sinatra sh*t! [laughs]
DJ Booth: [laughs] Okay! Well, before we jump ahead to the sophomore LP, when can your fans and our readers get a listen to your debut? When do you expect it to be out and available?
Mibbs: Expect the Grown Kid Syndrome album to come out in the first quarter of next year. We wanna give people a fresh new sound in a fresh new year, and I just urge everybody to get ready, ‘cause Pac Div is comin’ strong.
DJ Booth: All right, well, if you need me to make a call over to Motown and tell them to push that button sooner rather than later, I would be more than happy to, guys.
Mibbs: [laughs] Thank you, man, thanks!
DJ Booth: You’re welcome. Why don’t one of you give a website, a MySpace page, a Twitter account, so that everybody can find out more about you guys and, of course, everything you have goin’ on?
Like: twitter.com/itspacdiv for all Pac Div-related news.
DJ Booth: Guys, I appreciate you takin’ the time to join me inside the DJ Booth for the interview, and nothing but the continued best of luck as you move forward.
Pac Div: Thank you!