Anyone familiar with the three-on-three basketball scene knows there are two types of teams competitors should be weary of: the star-studded bunch whose rep precedes them and the trio of slick combo guards who make up for any shortcomings with a solid grasp of the fundamentals and teamwork. Whether on the hardwood or in the vocal booth, Cali-based group Pac Div falls into the latter category. With The Div, their formal introduction to the masses, BeYoung, Like and Mibbs are taking their show on the road.
Opening up with the No I.D.-helmed “The Greatness,” the trio acknowledges that their journey won’t be an easy one, but revel in the possibilities that lie for them out on the horizon. Aware of their underdog status, Pac Div wisely sticks to their formula for making solid music instead of chasing radio spins. Whether they’re enjoying a night out on the town to the hypnotic bounce of “Posted” or getting their “emo” on for “Move One,” a heavy dose of bass is a main ingredient of their music. Keeping the sound consistent throughout the album, regardless of the subject matter, helps to create a vibe and prevents listeners from skipping around.
Another common theme that binds this album together is Pac Div’s keeping the topics relatable. This does set limitations to partying late nights, enjoying the high life and interactions with females. However, The Div shines in these instances—especially when the group turns its attention to the opposite sex. Instead of taking the opportunity to practice out some new pick-up lines, the group isn’t afraid to delve below the surface. The breezy “She,” which features TiRon’s crooning on the hook, finds the trio turning the tables on gold diggers and frankly informing them to move along.
There’s plenty of reason to believe that Pac Div plays the underdog role well, but they do have a few areas to improve. No one would ever compare BeYoung, Like or Mibbs to the elite emcees when it comes to wordplay, but even as competent rappers, there are times when their verses stray too far to the simplistic side of things. Everyone takes a play off once in a while, but the slight drop off is more noticeable when everyone is relied on to carry the load equally. Missteps like the Asher Roth-featured frivolousness of “Useless” and the album closer “Thank You,” whose heartfelt gratitude is nullified by a Golden Girls’ sample that runs too long, are spread far enough apart to not mess up the album’s flow. For a group that wants to (and should) improve as they go along, The Div is a good starting point for these church league champs.
Label: RBC Records | Producers: No I.D., Swiff D, Cook Classics, Blended Babies, Like Dah, Micky Park