The L.A.-based hip-hop trio, Pac Div, have carved out their own niche in the blossoming Los Angeles rap scene, interestingly distinguishing themselves by sticking to their West Coast roots. While carrying a recognizable LA feel, their music also holds elements of the Bay Area hip-hop scene making for a unique, yet encompassing, portrait of California. On Tuesday, the Div released their highly anticipated second album, titled GMB, which stands for the members’ first names–Gabe, aka Like, Michael, aka Mibbs and Bryan, aka Be Young.
Through out GMB, the three emcees emerge with their most confident, and creatively boastful, project to date. Although the old-school influence remains in tact, the Div continue to progress bridging the classic and future of West Coast hip-hop. With several notable features including Mac Miller and fellow LA natives Kendrick Lamar and Blu, they also branched out more on this project, which added to the diverse underlying influences. From start to finish, GMB makes for an extremely enjoyable, and entertaining, experience delivering some west coast sunshine through your speakers.
I was lucky enough to get a chance to shoot Mibbs a few questions and he had some pretty insightful and interesting responses. In the interview, he touches on the group’s origins, their vision for the album and his thoughts about the Los Angeles rap scene among other topics. Check out what he had to say along with a few of our favorites tracks from GMB below, out now on iTunes. Big ups to Mibbs, and the Div, for taking the time to answer our questions.
The Return (feat. Ty$)
TMN: I know the three of you go way back, but when and how did you get into writing raps? How did the Div come about?
Mibbs: Like and myself were in different raps groups with each other growing up. We wrote raps since we were about 7 and 8 years old. Fast forwarding to when we created Pac Division (which was a much larger group from 03-05) we just pretty much gained chemistry with BeYoung and were always around each other, like everyday. So with us 3 being inseperable we created the sound and the whole swagger that you see today.
TMN:It is clear in your music that you guys are influenced by the old school west coast legends. Who else within hip-hop, current and in the past, do you think has influenced your style?
Mibbs: Theres so many rappers, singers, and musical groups that influenced Pac Div’s style and continue to. Just to name a few, Wu-tang, Ras Kass, Redman, Dogg Pound, Pharcyde, Slum Village (huge influence), Jay of course, Nas, Biggie, NWA (for sure), Above the Law, E-40, Outkast, Comptons Most Wanted.
TMN: Although there is a throwback and classic element to your music, I feel like GMB really showed a lot of progression in the sound creating a sort of past-meets-present-and-future sound to it. Tell us a little about your artistic growth and the process behind the album. What was your collective vision for this project?
Mibbs: I’ve always felt that we have a very throwback/futuristic style. I could point to our many influences as the motor that keeps us running our operation the way we do. With GMB, we definitely wanted to give the fans an aggressive, westcoast heavy sound thats also universal. As far as the rhymes go, I believe we spit a bit more arrogant than in our previous projects. We always want to make the albums classic in our own minds before we put it out. This time, we used more features than we ever have. Some new, and some familiar but in all, the album I feel is the best effort to date. Pretty much, the concept of GMB is Gabe, Mike and Bryan were so mad at the music industry that we decided to rob it, then after we robbed it we rubbed it in everyone’s faces.
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