The Pack are a group of young hyphy rapist-looking kids out of Berkely, California, home of the historically Asian University of California at Berkeley. I can’t claim to know anything (or care much) about the area, but it doesn’t strike me as the kind of hood that produces a lot of rappers.
But what do I know. Perhaps my fact-checking cuz dameSTATii could enlighten us.
You may have heard of them last year because they recorded a song called “Vans,” about how much they like Vans skateboarding shoes. MTV wouldn’t play it because it was essentially a four minute shoe commercial, and MTV isn’t the business of playing commercials without getting paid for that shit.
What was the deal with “Vans” anyway? My guess is that The Pack decided of their own volition, without any remuneration from the TI’s at Vans, to record a tribute to their a tribute to their favorite brand of shoes. After all, it’s not uncommon for jigs to sing odes to their favorite brand names.
[For any musicologists reading this: Would that be considered a trait of hip-hop that's distinctly African, like polyrhythm, or was that something that was inserted during the middle passage? Just wondering.]
A Brief Bol History Lesson (Feel Free to Skip)
It is fairly uncommon for black people to wear skateboarding shoes though, right? I’m not one of these people who knows anything about shoes other than how to tie them, but the only people I ever knew who wore skateboarding shoes were (mostly) cracka-ass crackas.
I used to ride the bus to middle school with some white kids who were into skateboarding, and they would always talk who got what sponsorship. You see, if you were good at skateboarding, companies would give you money to wear their shoes. You didn’t even have to be famous or anything.
I thought about getting into skateboarding myself, but I was way too fat and uncoordinated and close-minded and so on and so forth. That said, I did own a few pairs of Vans, as did what seemed like the vast majority of people I went to school with. These people would always be referred to as “posers.”
You didn’t want to be referred to as a poser.
Now Back to the Rap Music (Albeit Snap Rap Music)
The weird thing about The Pack is that they’re essentially one of these god-awful snap rap groups, (they’ve even done a song with Dem Franchize Boyz) except for a few key differences. Aside from the skateboarding shoes, they’ve somehow managed to make snap-hop much more listenable.
Some of the tracks on their new Skateboards 2 Scrapers EP incorporate actual snapping and some of them don’t, but all of them are at least a few BPMs faster than your average southern snap rap song. Indeed, one of the few things about hyphy I’ve come to appreciate is how fast it is.
And I say few because I can’t imagine anyone listens to this shit for the lyrics. I don’t know if it’s the E pills eating a hole in their brains of what, but The Pack rap about some ignorant-ass shit. Not that I’m complaining or anything. I’m just saying.