Interview by Maurice Bobb
Not that Pac Div is trying to steal any of Charlie "Bird" Parker's shine, but the Cali trio has mastered the virtuosic saxophonist's rule: Always leave them wanting more. Instead of cranking out an onslaught of forgettable music meant for the skip button, the Palmdale, Calif MCs laid back in the cut and took their time composing new sonic jewels before stepping back into the musical arena to deliver the encore to last year's critically-acclaimed mixtape, Church League Champions.
The new indie release, Don't Mention It, serving as an appetizer for their much-anticipated major label debut, Grown Kid Syndrome, has already raised some eyebrows. The line "They keep talking the new West/But dude, we been here, you left" from the single, "Rollin'," had everyone ducking down, thinking that shots were fired in the Wild Wild West, but Like, BeYoung and Mibbs set the record straight with Complex during one of their breaks from the LRG Homegrown Tour. Listen up y'all, cuz this is how the West will be won...
LISTEN: Pac Div f/ Ty$- "Rollin'"
Off Don't Mention It (coming soon)
Complex: What's up with the new mixtape Don't Mention It?
Like: Basically Don't Mention It is 11 or 12 songs that we felt that we wanted to record at the moment and they're all over the place. We got some real introspective records; we got some real base heavy, 808 records. We got just stuff we wanted to get off our chests on how we were feelin'. It's 11 or 12 honest songs. Just how we was feelin' at that exact moment. It took us maybe a few months to write and record.
Mibbs: The reason why we named it Don't Mention It was because we're giving people a free gift, a free album and when you give somebody a gift, they're supposed to say "Thank you" and we say, "Don't mention it."
Complex: The opening line in "Rollin'" has us all saying "Aw shit." What's up? You firing shots?
Mibbs: That statement that was stated by my brother at the beginning of the song where he said, "You keep talking about this new West," he talking to the people that never really kept the West Coast state of mind to begin with.
Like: Basically what I meant by that line was that people who are fans of music should just be fans of music. Don't be a fan of like, "Oh, I like the old West Coast shit. I like the Cube, I don't fuck with the new shit." Music is music. The West is gonna be what it was then and its gonna be what it is now. Without those guys then, we wouldn't be who we are now. I was really speaking to people who abandoned the West Coast who don't play West Coast records when we go out in different places in the country and we don't hear our music play. We don't hear a Snoop, we don't hear a Dogg Pound, and we don't hear any of the classics. We don't hear none of our new shit, so it's like all of a sudden there is like a revival of the West, the new West movement, but there should have never been a "revival" because it's always been there. That's what I'm saying, new West, like publications want to title the uprising of the new. Some of them call it the "New West" but we still been here doing our thing. We gonna keep doing what we do regardless.
Complex: There seemed to be a huge data gap from the G-Funk era to the "New West" with groups like you and U-N-I. How did that happen??
BeYoung: I think in some sense that was the artists in California and the West Coast, it was their responsibility to add on not to keep trying to make the same type of music a little bit more innovative and it was more on the artists end and I think now we getting back up it's a "New West" sound.
Like: And it's not any artist's responsibility to pass the torch to someone, it's all up to the individual. I feel, like all artists, we automatically pass our torches and it's up to the artists, group or individual or whatever to grab it. They want it to be like, "Here, I'm gonna create this whole career for you," but you can't create careers off anybody. What you can do is reach out to help out who you wanna help but you can't help everyone. I can't look to Snoop for a handout, I don't look to Cube or Dre or any of them to be like, Man, why y'all ain't do this? I mean, we got busy on our stuff and got inspired by the shit that they did 'cause the shit that they created, that was the torch pass.
BeYoung: You gotta build on it from there.
Like: And that's what we plan on doing. We not realistically gonna go to a lot of artists after us and try to help them out. What we can do is leave them a package of music from our hearts that will inspire them and that will be their torch and they can light their own torch with the inspiration that the music gave them. That's what Dre and all our predecessors did for us.
Like: It wasn't like we don't have to be in the lab with Snoop or Dre to feel them and be fans of it, you know?
Complex: It seems like Ice Cube has been clowning the "New West" sound in interviews. Do you guys take offense?
Mibbs: He is the West. Cube is the West.
BeYoung: He ain't said us by name, so we just gotta respect it
Mibbs: I love Cube.
BeYoung: We love Cube.
Like: I will never say a bad word about no rapper, especially Ice Cube.
Mibbs: There would be no "Mayor" without Ice Cube.
Like: I was thinking about a cold line earlier in the van. It's like "without the people before you, you don't exist" 'cause that's where you came from.
BeYoung: That's the building block.
Mibbs: Yo, you will never hear us bite the hand that feeds us.
Like: Like the kids in their iPods listening to our shit like man, "I wish I could meet Pac Div." We used to be like, "Man I wish I knew Ice Cube." So it's just like that.
Complex: Heads are feenin' for your music. Why does it take so long for you guys to drop new shit?
BeYoung: We just always try to maintain that quality, man. Like we always told ourselves, we wanna come out like, for example, how like Gucci come out with quality product. They don't put out the most shit, but when they drop, they come out with that quality material and the good fabrics every time they come out, as opposed to...
Like: He talkin' about Gucci the brand of clothes, not Gucci the rapper.
BeYoung: Where another brand might drop 300 shirts in one month with cheap materials and cheap fabrics, we wanna take our time and put the good shit out and space it and make sure it's quality product.
Complex: You guys just performed for the SXSW. What was that like?
Mibbs: It was gravy 'cause a lot of the West Coast artists were there that I've been coming up with. We saw TiRon, we saw Diz and we saw a lot of the top ten freshmen that we got to meet and hang with. So the energy for hip-hop was great. The love was showed from every walk of life: white folks, black folks, young kids and older cats. It was love, so we know that we were part of something good at SXSW.
Complex: You guys weren't a part of the XXL Top Freshman. Why not?
Mibbs: I mean, our thing is this, we just make good music and if we get recognized for it, we get recognized for it. We don't get recognized, it doesn't really matter 'cause we know what we gotta do. Pac Div is not trippin'. If we don't get, you know, covers of magazines, all that's gon' come. If you do the work, it's gonna happen eventually.
Complex: Heads have been impatiently waiting on that new mixtape, you got a release date?
Like: About two weeks from now. We just waiting on the website packaging, but the music is done. We might drop another song next week just for people to have. Look for it to drop late April or early May. I mean, I know for all the people who gonna read this and be like, "Aw, they keep pushing it back."
Mibbs: It's all these technicalities that come into play.
Like: Nah, but it's done. It's ready for y'all. We are getting it to you sooner than later.
PREVIOUSLY: Pac Div Talks Church League Champions Mixtape, Jordan History & Bad Day Jobs (Interview From July 2009)