Six years ago, the west coast rap group Pac Div decided to take a break. Which, fair. Everyone needs a break every now and then. The rap trio, brothers LIKE and Mibbs and their buddy BeYoung, took time off for personal pursuits, and did pretty well for themselves individually. The boys are back though with the release of 1st Baptist and the music video for the album’s first single “Stoked,” which we’re premiering today on Noisey.
1st Baptist is a hell of a reintroduction for the group, taking everything they’ve learned individually over the past few years and bringing it all back together so fluidly that it’s hard to believe they ever went their separate ways. The spirit of the project is exemplified in “Stoked,” a fun and rambunctious song that puts their lyrical expertise on full display. The accompanying video, which turns a day in the group’s life into a trippy odyssey, is just as impressive with its psychedelic visuals that make it feel like a comic book come to life.
Over email, Mibbs and BeYoung answered some questions I had about the song, the album, and where they’ve been for the last few years:
So what were you all doing for six years, and why is now the time to comeback?
BeYoung: For the last 6 years we’ve all been active, just not officially in putting out group projects. First and foremost, we’re family, we’re brothers, we’ve been communicating this whole time. In case you didn’t catch it, we been busy! LIKE has a Grammy nomination for his work with Kendrick and another with Anderson .Paak, Mibbs has put out some projects and mixtapes, I put out a Daily Break mixtape. This Is just the first official group project in a long time that has a bow on it, under the Christmas tree, so to speak.
The universe spoke to us and told us it was time to put something out. There was no conscious thought. We kept seeing people on socials say stuff like, “I pray Pac Div comes back,” or “I know Pac Div is coming back - I feel it,” and we said the same: “Let’s put some of that energy out and see how it’s reciprocated.“
Mibbs: Last six years I recorded and put out three solo EP’s ( Freebass w Prod. By Scoop Deville, The Program, and Killer Of Sheep album prod. by Huss) also I went to film school and got a degree. We all put out solo works as well. We all felt that Pac Div needed to drop music again because we never stopped making music together. We just were making our own stuff at the same time.
What do the newcomers to your music need to know about you all?
BeYoung: If you’re just tuning in, Pac Div are the fly cousins to come your house and tighten you up. Let you know how to work your jeans, let you know why your shoes need to fit a certain way, we remind you to stay hydrated and drink water. Furthermore, the rappers you look up to probably hold respect for us in some regards. They were aware of us at some point or their people respect what we do and know that we’re students of the game.
What was the inspiration for the song and the video?
Mibbs: Stoked is one of those songs that as soon as I heard the beat I got hyped and the hook just came to me right on the spot. It feels like some Old School Frank The Tank mobbing in The A-Team van fucking people up shit. Don’t you agree?
BeYoung: This video is like you’re at your highest frequency, just being ecstatic and being ready for a high powered time, with your boys and maybe in the company of ladies whether their body parts are natural or purchased. When you’ve had a couple drinks and having fun and you realize that her ass is fake but you’re saying, “Welp, we’re already here and having a good time.”
How did you all prepare to reenter rap when the landscape of the genre has changed so much during the time you all have been absent as a group?
BeYoung: The main things we did to prepare was making sure we tap all the way into ourselves. People underestimate the power of self. And for Pac Div, we always made best music when we were channeling our best selves.
Mibbs: Reentry feels easy because we take pride in making the sounds for tomorrow and today. We rock hard on shows because we actually love it. I feel like the genre has changed every year and actually has gotten easier for artist to gain a following. Partly because the sound of music has dumbed down (in my opinion) and social media spreads the message faster. There’s no competition like how it used to be, everybody has their own lane.
What are y'all most stoked about in the near future?
Mibbs: I’m just stoked for the fans to hear the new album and the newer stuff after this. Stoked to get back to being more consistent putting music out with The Div.
Is this a one-off return or are you all back for good now?
BeYoung: This is no one-off, this is the kickoff. We gon’ keep hitting you as the universe permits. We don’t want you to get tired of us, but we here to put the frequency out here. You will hear more from us soon.
Mibbs: Oh yeah, we back niggas!!! Forever…..
Stream First Baptist below.