“Time to rob a bank,” threatens Pac Div emcee Mibbs. “Walk in that bitch like, ‘Show me the safe.’” Mibbs isn’t being literal, but he is serious. Pac Div hasn’t made an impact commercially, and they’re far from critical darlings. He reluctantly opens “Bank” with the line, “Always making ground, breaking shit that don’t break.” When good music doesn’t equal money, the musician gets frustrated or even desperate. Hopefully, this Cali trio won’t have to rob anyone if their second album, GMB, will “break.” It deserves to.
Nonchalant but never lazy, Mibbs, Like, and BeYoung — the three emcees that form Pac Div (short for Pacific Division) — let verses fall from their mouths. And they’re best when their subject matter is equally loose. Over a chilled Swiff D beat, Like floats between love and fake love, “thumbing back to memories” on highlight “Truth”. His words are his thoughts, sincere and direct. Pac Div are defined by that sincerity. Even token sex song “Can’t Help It” comes off as a from-the-heart ode to squeaky mattresses and raunchy PDA (“In the public she feel me touching on it / While I’m driving she be sucking on it”).
As emcees, Pac Div are so damn easy on the ears, but their music is at the mercy of the producers. GMB has its share of solid beats (the aforementioned “Truth” and “Bank”); however, the squealing samples on “Sneakerboxes” and “Cross-Trainers” are distracting and leave the tracks unlistenable. The Kendrick Lamar guest appearance on the latter is about 15 seconds long and extremely disappointing.
But these are only minor qualms. GMB is a relaxed, enjoyable rap record by three dudes who have fun rhyming words together. Maybe it’ll break, maybe it won’t. As illustrated by “Bank”, there’s a bitterness brewing; for Pac Div’s sake, let’s hope it never overtakes their earnestness.
Essential Tracks: “Bank”, “Truth”