Five & Done: Pacific Division

When you think of a group from the West Coast, you get automatic images of gangbangers in khaki pants, Chuck Taylor’s, red or blue bandanas and a ‘64 Chevy Impala bouncing on hydraulics as G-Funk blasts in the background. Despite West Coast groups like The Pharcyde and The Alkaholiks for years constantly trying to break that image from people’s minds, the Gangster/Gangsta image is still the popular stereotype. With a new crop of rappers and MC’s rising out of the West, the Pacific Division are three young MC’s dedicated to making music for what they describe as the regular person, because contrary to popular belief, not everybody is bangin’ in Southern California. The Pacific Division is out to show that MC skills and musicianship is alive and well on the West Coast and in the world of Hip-Hop. Who the members of Pacific Division are…Like: There’s myself Like, Mibbs and BeYoung. Mibbs and I are brothers and we were born and raised in Los Angeles. During High School we moved out to a suburb called Palmdale and that’s where we met BeYoung. We all played basketball together and shared the same interests in rap. Being on the West Coast it’s kind of hard to find other people that like Ghostface Killah, Wu-Tang and even The Pharcyde, so my brother and I had good chemistry with him [BeYoung]. The three of us have been together as a group for about three years. Initially there were nine or ten of us, like our own Wu-Tang Clan, but things happened and we had to downsize. [left to right: BeYoung, Mibbs, Like][Pacific Division “Taste” (produced by DJ Khalil)]

How they fit in to a West Coast scene that is mostly known for its Gangsta sound… Mibbs:  The West Coast is known for the Gangsta sound, but there are a whole lot of young black males in California that don’t fall in to the Gangsta category. They are just regular dudes that work regular jobs – that like to look fresh on a regular basis. They have a different mindset of what cool is. I feel that we fall into that category. People like to label us as “backpack”, because anything that is not gangsta out here is thought of as backpack [rap]. We really don’t like that label. We are just here doing music that’s us. We call it life-music because it’s music to live to. If we fall under the backpack label, then so be it, but that’s not what we are trying to push.  On the release that’s coming soon…BeYoung: We are going to put a digital EP for the internet with all new material. It’s going to be strictly for the internet and that should be out by the end of March. As far as an album is concerned, that all depends on what kind of label situation we can land. [Pacific Division “Woman Problems”]

On their reception outside of the West Coast…Like: We’ve been getting a great response. We don’t regionalize our music. Our music has a universal influence from listening to music from every region when we were growing up. I feel that our music reflects that too. When you listen to us, you can’t even tell where we are from. It’s world music. An opinion on Hip-Hop and how it has changed over the years…Like: It’s changed a lot because of the internet and because of people in positions that pump out generic music — music that isn’t timeless. Everything sounds the same. I mean, it was like that before but it’s even greater now. Downloading has also had a bad effect, that isn’t helping out either. In today’s rap world, you have to really make your show-money. You’ve got to start a movement for whatever you are doing. Also now you have albums full of singles -they try to give 12 or 13 tracks of just singles. We feel that if you give people a reason to follow you and not just an image to like, then they will follow what you stand for. If what you are saying is heavy, then people will stay with you for a long time. If you are shallow, then people will stay with you only for a minute and then go follow the next thing that sounds just like you.  [Pacific Division “F.A.T. Boys”]

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