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Pacific Division

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Dismissing the seemingly ubiquitous hip-hop clichés, California trio Pacific Division was seen as a breath of fresh air when they surfaced from the underground in the late 2000s. Originally comprised of ten-plus members, the group came about when brothers Like (Gabe Stevenson) and Mibbs (Michael Stevenson), who moved from Los Angeles to northern suburb Palmdale, CA, for their freshmen year in high school, found like-minded hip-hop heads on the school's basketball team. They made Pacific Division an official crew in 2002, but shrank down to Like, Mibbs, and third member, BeYoung (Bryan Young), around 2005. Their first major offering, the 2006 mixtape Sealed for Freshness: The Blendtape, was a complete departure from popular West Coast rap music. Rhyming over classic hip-hop instrumentals, the whimsical and witty trio sounded more like a hybrid of Slum Village, the Pharcyde, and the Wu-Tang Clan. With the aid of main producer/collaborator Swiff D, Pacific Division was able to build a respectable following via the Internet, particularly by using their MySpace web page. Leaked singles like "F.A.T. Boys '08" and "Women Problems" garnered lots of press, landing them many "Artist to Watch" features in several mainstream publications. The threesome finally signed with major label Universal in 2008 after entertaining a few different offers. In March the following year, the label issued the digital-only, three-song Pacific Division EP, anticipating their debut, Grown Kid Syndrome, to be released later that year. ~ Cyril Cordor

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