“Any time you come out with some fresh shit, artists have a chance to reinvent themselves. We just try to reinvent ourselves every time out and keep rocking.” — Mibbs
It’s been a long road to this point for BeYoung, Like and Mibbs (left to right), but for them the grind is just starting to heat up. With the first anniversary of their debut album, The Div, quickly approaching, it’s on to bigger things for the Cali-based collective. Drawing influences from both the east and west coasts, (Pete Rock, NWA, J Dilla and Wu Tang to name a few) Pac Div has created a sound that is simultaneously reminiscent of hip-hop’s past and indicative of hip-hop’s future. Pac Div’s trio pens heartfelt bars over soulful beats, and the end product is sure to get people out of their seats. Truth be told, the hip-hop world can’t be mad when people keep it real, but more to the point why do it any other way?
I see you guys are scheduled to play Oct. 14th in Davis, Calif., at Mfalme Fest 2012 with Curren$y, Ryan Leslie, Wale and many others. What’s the vibe like when there are so many artists performing at one venue, on one stage?
Mibbs: It’s dope to have that many notable artists together to rock a crowd. I’m surprised there aren’t more tours like that because it brings out different crowds and different vibes. Also, people who are fans of Stalley or Curren$y get an opportunity to see Pac Div. The energy of everybody on the stage is definitely something you have to match though.
Keeping with the concert scene, the Club Nokia gig with Black Star, Del the Funky Homosapien and Freestyle Fellowship is also coming up soon. What are you looking forward to from that gig?
Like: We’ve never shared a stage with a Freestyle Fellowship, but they’re at the center of west coast hip-hop. They rock and we’re just going to add to it. With the older artists and similar styles, it should just be awesome performing in front of their fans. The west coast is a very unique thing. LA and NY have their own sound, but LA and Oakland have their distinct sounds too. All said and done, it’s still west coast. We love to pay homage to those guys though.
BeYoung: You see a lot of cats collaborating out here, similar to how some people perceive the South. A lot more people just realize you have to deal in other people’s fan bases.
Tell me a bit about your relationship with Pharrell Williams. You guys opened for N.E.R.D. on a tour last year, so what did you notice about his creative tendencies when it comes to making a record?
M: We worked with Pharell and he’s a real cool dude. It was a great experience to see how he works and how he rocks the house. We dug that. We noticed the way he works really fast, he’s just doing everything at once. Chad definitely does his job too though, coming in behind and making things nice and clean. With Pharell, though, you get a complete record with complete sound.
How important is creative control of the music for you guys? I understand sometimes things can get hung up in “politics,” but what’s the situation with RBC like?
M: They let us do with whatever we want, but obviously we can’t sell a song unless we clear a sample. We always bring the ruckus, so it’s good though.
Let’s talk about the upcoming GMB (Gabe, Michael, Bryan) project. “Gimme What You Got” has an old school vibe for sure, but are there any features and/or guest production to look out for?
M: First off, “Gimme What You Got” isn’t our beat. I wish it was, but it comes from a Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth joint called “Take You There.” As for production on GMB: Like is on there, DJ Dotty, Chuck Inglish, Theolonius Martin and Swiff D of course. Feature-wise Mac Miller is on a track, Blu, Kendrick Lamar and some other people but that’s all I’m going to say.
How have Pacdivdaily.com and social media helped the brand?
L: Social media helps keep everything afloat as far as creating a community and keeping people up to date with what we’ve got. It’s ever changing though. You see a lot more artists taking the independent route and combining everything in one, that’s becoming a new thing too. Word travels around fast, so if you drop something it’s like a wildfire. People can do all these things now and our phones are practically computers too. Get with it or get lost. Itunes, Spotify, Bandcamp, Wikipedia, the food, the groceries, just everything. People don’t need to be slaves to it, but it’s just a new generation. Instagram and Twitter too, both of those are dope.
Who are y’all listening to nowadays?
M: Ab Soul, Jay Rock, Schoolboy Q and Frank Ocean to name a few. You can even play Frank’s music for your parents, and his visuals are pretty dope. I know he’s not a rapper, but he has a rapper’s skill set. There are a lot of people nowadays. We like what Odd Future has done in the past, A$AP doing his thing too. The internet has so much influence on what people are listening to nowadays, but there’s plenty of good stuff out there that nobody has to force you to listen to you.
How was it teaming up with the guys from the NBA for the Phiten “Still Flexin’” video?
L: Those guys were cool as hell. We come from a basketball background as well, but it made us realize how fun and silly atheletes are. We were cracking jokes with them, just having a good time. Melo actually knew about us because he was a fan of ours. He told Mibbs that and it was definitely ill to hear.
M: Carmelo was the one who called us to come up there. He was like, ‘I got your Church League tape,’ so I guess hoopers keep up with their music as well. LeBron also said he had heard a couple joints of ours too, so that was definitely dope.
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