When you first listen to Pacific Division, better known as Pac Div, what will come to mind are groups such as The Cool Kids, Eric B. and Rakim, De La Soul and many other old school hip-hop groups. If you are familiar with any of those groups then you can already tell that Pac Div is worth your attention. Starting in 2006 Pac Div released their first mixtape Sealed for Freshness: The Blend Tape to positive reception. Magazines such as Billboard, Rolling Stone and Source elevated the group’s success, and opening for artists such as Nas, Q-Tip, Busta Rhymes, Ice-T and Ludacris only added to their popularity.
A trio consisting of brothers Like and Mibbs and long time friend BeYoung, the group has had a busy year. Along with performing at Austin, Texas’ SXSW music festival and touring, Pac Div is gearing up to release their upcoming album Grown Kid Syndrome. Until its release you will have to listen to their latest mixtape Mania! that, as soon as I started bumping it, could not stop moving my head.
Mania! is a combination of great flows and some of the best production I have heard in a long time. Beginning with “The Mirror” Pac Div reflects on their lives and produces rhymes that are not only uplifting, but well-crafted. “You can’t earn stripes if you’ve never had scars” says Pac Div as they preach optimistic rhymes over a heavy beat and symphonic strings.
“SuperNegroes” is one of my favorites on this mixtape. Sampling Rob Base’s “It Takes Two” and the synth-keyboard part from N.E.R.D.’s “Lapdance,” “SuperNegroes” is a straight up party-bumping track that you will probably have on repeat. Put in one of the greatest choruses ever created (listing a bunch of girls’ names, implying that they only plan on getting the girls with a common, attractive name) and “SuperNegroes” will have you raising the volume of your speakers in no time.
“Fallin'” is another favorite. Sampling Andre 3000’s “Prototype” this track will bring to mind songs like “Bonita Applebum,” with its smooth flow and simple groove. “I’m at the studio now, I’ll be back by ten. She right on time, we back at it again” rhymes Pac Div over this well-produced track.
“Same Ol’ Shit” has some of the best production throughout this whole mixtape. Banging with loud marching band sounds “Same Ol’ Shit” hits you in every direction. “Life is like a movie, but there ain’t no script” says the group as their tough rhymes are supported by the heavy beat.
“Your Fuckin’ Song” has some super good flow, although the production is not as great as other tracks. Clever wordplay such as “I swear you act just like virgins, you gonna need Madonna” and “I don’t read the dictionary I just redefine it,” allows this song to still have a strong presence on the mixtape.
“Somethin'” definitely is the odd one out. Although the rhymes are still good, the production seems to not fit the overall sound of the mixtape. It is still listenable and you will enjoy some of the references to past events (“Yeah I mean Clinton. I ain’t mad at him man, he was just pimpin'”), but the production feels like it belongs on a motivational commercial or something.
“Still a Knucklehead” is another head-bobbing track with a goofy synth part that will invade your head as soon as it starts. A guest appearance by The Cool Kid’s Sir Michael Rocks makes this track even better as he delivers an always enjoyable flow. “Kinda like a big deal” says Pac Div as they rhyme about their popularity, getting into clubs and hanging with girls.
“Out” and bonus track “Shine” are some good outro tracks, but are not as significant as the other tracks on the mixtape. “Out” is another reflection track supported by a catchy xylophone part. “Shine” is a nice extra featuring Marz Lovejoy helping out the group on the chorus of the track.
Mania! is a dope mixtape that features great flow, production and interesting guest appearances. Fans of Pac Div will not be disappointed, and those who have yet to get into them can start here. Each track shows a different side of the group, and although some tracks are much stronger than others, you will catch yourself listening to this many times around. Not to mention, the mixtape can be downloaded at the Pac Div Daily website for free. So, if you are into good production, smooth flow and free music, definitely give Mania! a listen.