Pac Div on Their Banging New Album, Collaborating With Kendrick Lamar, and L.A. Hip-Hop’s Huge Year

Indeed. Over the past few years, L.A.’s scene has produced some amazing underground talent, and you guys have been at the forefront of that. With Kendrick’s album reaching such big success, it’s really coming to fruition now.

Mibbs: We really do feel like there’s a sort of renaissance happening. It’s still the beginning of it, because there are a lot of other rappers that are going to get that shine in a little bit. As the course of history goes on in hip-hop, certain regions get a certain amount of attention, and I feel like the West Coast is getting it back to where it used to be, because the sound is just a lot more refined. No diss to any other coast or anything, it just seems like it’s a lot more progressive and innovative [here], you know? We’re hitting ’em from all angles: the beats are dope, the lyrics are dope, and everybody has their own style. It’s fun, man—it’s a really good sign to walk down the street and see rappers that are your homeboys and they’re making it and see them driving Audis and Beamers. It’s pretty cool.

One thing that’s interesting about the new West it is that it sounds pretty different from what people think of as traditional L.A. hip-hop, which has always been so rooted in the gangsta-rap and G-funk foundations N.W.A, Dre and Snoop built.

Mibbs: Right. I just think that guys we mentioned—the Kendricks, the Blus, the Pac Divs, the Doms—we didn’t really have that kind of upbringing. Of course we were raised around the gangbanging stuff, but we were fans of music, we were fans of MCing and just watching rappers do their thing.

Speaking of L.A.’s rap history, how’d you guys end up linking up with Kurupt?

Like: Back in the day, back in 2003 when was like 19, not even old enough to buy liquor, we used to be in the lab with him. He taught us a lot about the game, the industry—that was during a time when he wasn’t really on terms with Daz, so he was doing a lot of his Death Row thing. It was just a good experience, man—to hear his wisdom on just life. He’s like a Jedi. He’s an enlightened dude. He knows his history, he knows his hip-hop history. He’ll tell you about shit in Egypt and Africa and then he’ll just drop 100 bars of freestyle on you, all in five minutes of conversation. [Laughs]

On the other side of the spectrum. you also recorded with Mac Miller, for “Black Acura.” How did that come about?

Like: He’s a fan who respected our music and our grind for years and he wanted to collaborate, and the timing was right. We toured with him last year. We hit him up with a record, and he came back with the stems and that was that.

What’s your favorite song on the album?

Mibbs: Oh man. It’s hard to pinpoint one song, but I would have to say “The Return,” I love that song. It’s just got that feeling like we brought back ’94. It has such a bright feel and it just reminds me of California. You wake up in the morning and you hit the streets and you see the hills and you see the blue sky, and it’s just pretty outside. It just embodies what I think California is.

NEXT UP: PAC DIV TALKS DUMPING MOTOWN AND GOING FOR SELF