"Better late than never" is a phrase The Pack are surely familiar with. They first hit the scene about a year ago with a monster single in the form of "Vans." Their success was impressive in more ways than one as the quartet of rappers was not only young but also self-produced and distributed. Since that time The Pack has gained the support of Too $hort's Up All Nite Records, Rawkus Records, and Jive Records. For the better part of a year that support has only been on paper as the crew has been ignored and wasted. Instead of quickly hitting us with an album to follow up "Vans" fans were left to wait a few months before the "Skateboards 2 Scrapers" EP was dropped. Finally, almost a year after that the group gets the chance to drop their full length album, 17 tracks deep if you count the four "bonus" tracks which include some of the group's most popular tracks.
At first glance you would be tempted to dismiss The Pack as just another hyphy group, but they put their own twist on the hyphy movement. "Vans" has been their biggest hit so far and is a sharp detour from the Air Force Ones and Jordans that are usually bragged about in raps. Even those who have never owned a pair of the skateboarder shoes was singing along when the track was played. The track is definitely hyphy in style, but more suburban in content than any other hyphy song out there. The Pack aren't G-rated rappers, but they do hit upon topics more likely to gain universal appeal. "I Look Good" is a as simple as the title, the crew brags about how good they look over an amped Young L beat. "In My Car" is more of the same but this time the car looks good:
"Riding down the street and I see a pretty girl
She wants me, I want her, I will take her to my world
I'm in my car, I'm stunting in my car
You know I'm in my car, I'm stunting in my car"
"At The Club" is aimed to make the girls shake their asses:
"Momma hello, make it wiggle like Jell-O
And like Juelz make me whistle like a kettle
Drop it shake it, do it lil' momma
Have a party in my lap and she shaking topless
I spit like Ike cause my flows the cleanest
And they call me mean Uno cause my flows the meanest
And she moving real fast like she driving in Nascar
Hips looking right, plus her ass real large"
And on "Fly" they get a little deeper than usual as they profess their pride in being considered "different" than your average rap group:
"Cleaner than whoever, baby fly as my sweater
Don't let nobody tell you different, yeah whatever
I think different, ain't scared to be different
I dress different than you and I got different visions"
It's simple rap, but it's rap that everyone can relate to which is one of The Pack's strongest selling points. Their other strong point is group member and main producer Young L who laces the group with heavy weight hyphy tracks. The mixture of dominating bass drums and sparse synths works well for a group dedicated to partying and enjoying life. The problem with the group is that the production is consistently hyphy throughout. Even when Mr. Collipark shows up on "The Milky Way" and Traxamillion drops "Club Stuntin'" the production remains hyphy. The only non-hyphy track is "Rock N Roll" produced by The Replacement Killers. They serve us with an old school sounding soul track reminiscent of something Lil' Rob would flow over. Basically you have to love hyphy and party music to appreciate what The Pack is all about.
If you like the pounding bass that inhabits the hyphy landscape, The Pack is the perfect group for you. They're all about having a good time, whether "In The Club" or in the "Backseat." They won't blow you away lyrically, and they do get repetitive (at one point in the album we get "In The Club," "Club Stuntin'," and "At The Club" all in a row), but they are entertaining enough to maintain your attention.
Despite losing all the steam of their first singles, "Based Boys" hits us with plenty of more tracks that will probably end up getting heavy radio rotation in the bay and beyond. The jury is still out on whether hyphy is a fad or here to stay, but The Pack don't care either way as they just do their thing and do it well.
Music Vibes: 6.5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 5.5 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 6 of 10
Originally posted: November 20, 2007