Interview: Lil B of the The Pack
by Winston "Stone" Ford
The first time I heard the single for “Vans” I knew that there was something different about The Pack. The Bay Area teens (Lil Uno, Young L, Lil B, & Stunna) weren’t shy about their love for a skateboard shoe in their song “Vans”, (as opposed to the traditional Nike’s), which set the Internet on fire when it dropped last year. From that point on, all comparisons to any other current rap act are null and void.
The stunning success of “Vans” came from the in-house production of Young L, who incorporates thumping crunk sounds as well as influences of ATL booty bass and old skool gangsta rap. Their consistent grind and style has won them the praise of such Bay legends as Too Short and Keek da Sneak as well as a deal with Jive records. Add to that the rumored collaborations with Will.I.Am and Lil John and a group that’s set for major success.
How did y’all get started?
Man, you know what Im’ sayin’, just a love for the music ya know? Met [Young] El at school. El intruded me to Stunna. El was makin’ beats and I was rappin. Stunna introduced Uno and collectively we made The Pack.
How did you start getting’ recognition from Too Short?
Just the grind man, just trying to get the music around and makin’ hella songs and getting that music out there.
Did he find you or did y’all find him?
He found us. He heard us on a music tip tough a partner cause we really did a lot of promotion and mixtapes and and [Too Short’s] partner was like “we gotta have these dudes.”
Is that how you got the record deal?
It was ourselves too with the help of Too Short.
There’s skateboarding in your video for Vans. Is hip-hop ready for skate culture?
El and Stunna are the skateboarders and Uno skateboards a little bit but I don’t really do the skateboard thing.
Cool cool, but you know that there’s not that many skateboarders in hip-hop…
Man, we’re trying to crossover and trying to show people that you can be an individual, ya know? Express yourself, that’s what I’m bringing. And I know that everybody else is too. I don’t really skateboard but I know the other cats do. They’e actually bringing individuality [to the game] and telling people its cool to be an individual, a skateboarder, you now what I’m sayin? That’s what we’re collectively bringing to the group? Be individual. Be happy with being an individual person, expressing yourself and not getting scared to.
Is that individuality apart of the Hyphy movement?
Yeah, its a part of the Hyphy movement, but its also a part of The Pack movement. We’re part of that [Hyphy Movement], but besides that we’re trendsetters ya know? That’s how we get down. We do how we want to do we dress how we want and we feel how we want to feel now matter what anybody says. You know how everybody moves right we move left. We try to stay as far from the norm as possible, ya know? And really set trends. We’re trendsetters.
Everybody is lovin’ the video for Vans. We voted it Song of the Year at The Couch Sessions.
Man, than you, thank you for that.
No problem. What was the whole situation with MTV and your video for “Vans?” What did you think about that?
It was just like…..they [MTV] thought it was a commercial. You know what I’m saying? They thought it was a commercial for Vans. We did the song cause it was somethin’ that we wore and we weren’t even trippin’ off of that cause it was something that we did cause we were expressing ourselves and we were out there being different, you know what I’m sayin’? And it ended up blowin’ cause it was very individual.
So did Vans hook ya’ll up? Y’all get free shoes?
You know Vans is helpin’ us out. They’re supporting us.
So what are your influences? Cause I was listening to the EP and I heard this song…you could probably tell me what it is, but it had a lot of old Skool ATL Booty Bass Influence…
Oh, Candy, Candy…
Yeah…that’s the one
Yeah, we’re just influenced by everything, ya know? We just be up in the studio and [Young] El be up in the studio just thinkin’ about crazy beats, and I’ll be thinkin’ up some crazy hooks, ya know? We just be ridiculous some times, just trying to do what we wanna feel.
We know that the Skateboards to Scrapers EP dropped and that was hot. But what’s up with the album?
Oh my god man, we’re workin’ on the new album right now. The album is gonna be ridiculous. You know one of those albums that change the game? It’s gonna be one of those. Skateboards to Scrapers was just a little taste, you know what I’m sayin? The album is gonna be like a movie. Like what Biggie said, ya know? I give you my life and I’ll give you an album. You know what it is.
Who are you guys working with on the album?
Its gonna be crazy. Lil John is gonna be on there. Will.I.Am. We got Dem Franchise Boys on the album. We gonna try to get Currency on the album. We’re tryin’ to get Wayne On there. Pitbull. We’re just gonna start working with some people.
When’s the album gonna drop?
Not sure about that. It’s gonna be soon.
You got a title for it?
Is [producer and group member] Young L Makin’ the Beats?
We got a couple producers on there but mainly it’s gonna be Young L.
A lot of people are comparing you to groups from the ATL? Are you down with that comparison?
You know, you get categorized once you make hits? Of course people are gonna hate and categorize but once they hear the virtue to our music theynullll understand what we doin’. It’s all just time, and people are gonna ease into The Pack and realize that we’re a movement. We’re just not just one song
Are you guys gonna tour anytime soon?
Not that I know of, but if we do I’ll definitely let y’all know.
When y’all hit the East Coast let us know what’s up.
Oh yeah. We gotta go out there to visit the first lady of Star Trak outta Harlem. A couple other people like Jim Jones, we cool with them. And I’m gonna come out there and visit you man and you got to show me what’s up.
You gotta show me how they do in New York man, DC show us what’s good.
Oh, it’s goin’ down! (Look out for the Couch Sessions + Pack connection!)
What’s next after the album?
We’re goin’ overseas, ya know. We’re hittin’ up England, Japan. They love us over there in Japan. It’s really movin’ ya know? We’re goin’ everywhere.
Is that because of the MySpace love? You gettin’ a lot of Internet play?
Man, we got over 3 million plays on MySpace so we gettin’ real real big man. You know. SHOW ME WHAT YOU GOT! Were ready to show people what’s up. We’re trying to have fun, and learn ya know? We’re ready to infect the game.
The Pack’s Skateboards to Scrapers EP is out now. Check out their videos for Vans and their new single Diamonds right now.