There have been many great and iconic groups in hip-hop, ranging from the south where we had the Hot Boys and UGK. And to the north, where we have seen some of the most major groups in history; like Dipset and Wu-Tang. In the sea of all of the amazing and important groups who have shaped the history of music and inspired the youth.
From my standpoint, my opinion of what is important may be biased just being from the Bay Area, I respect and cherish the influence of legends like a Mac Dre, E40, Too $hort, Mistah FAB and others. Those main legends get the praise and love from the Bay. I feel as if there are some forgotten people who fit into that category with them. I feel like a group that is commonly left out of the groups that is The Pack. A group of four young men from Berkeley, California, if you do not know besides their hot song ‘Vans’. They are most commonly known for making other bangers like ‘I’m Shinin’, and ‘In My Car’ is one of the most effective and influential groups to come out of the Bay Area. Even though they are probably the most overlooked group they had an impact on music and culture that so many people saw, felt and understood; they should be considered as one off the greatest groups of all time.
I have given myself the title of being an enthusiast of The Pack; The Pack has a very special place in music, from starting off with ‘Vans’ at the peak of the hyphy movement in 2007. To have one of the biggest Bay Area legends, Lil B the Basedgod. Seeing these four men from Berkeley, California go places I have never seen anyone else even go kind of put a spark in my mind to go out and do what I want to do. I remember they premiered the legendary “In My Car” video on 106&Park I was about nine years old and I was seeing hometown heroes make it to a big place and getting their music seen on a larger scale, getting the music that was regional to the masses. Everyone heard and saw what the Bay Area was doing.
They had and still have such an impact on music and lifestyle, they had the world by the fucking neck with their absolute biggest song that they have ever released has to be ‘Vans’. You know you made it when you have everyone buy a pair of vans and sing your song. Even this day, you cannot wear a pair of vans and not sing this song. In the song, Lil Uno said, “It’s a punk rock shoe so they get real dirty.” After The Pack, songs like “Fruity Pebble Punk Rock” came out, just furthering what The Pack has done on a local level. I’m not sure if they ended up lighting a fire under people’s asses but the music that kids my age were listening to at this time and maybe a good two to three years afterward there was a direct line of what they did and the music that people continued to make.
The musical impact has gone further than even just the Bay Area and the regional music scene. It was literally worldwide; so many people who make music today were and still are fans of The Pack. Niggas rapping about their shoes and their clothes? What? Come on, who was doing that before them; I cannot think of anyone who did this. Without them, we would not have and anyone who was there helping to capture and showcase the essence of the Bay Area youth at the time. At seventeen, they were rapping about the things that me, my siblings, our friends, and our families were living at the time. Literally just being young during a time when the music here was gaining mainstream attention.
The cultural impact of The Pack goes further than just a brand of shoes. From this group, came one of the biggest artists to date. The BasedGod, Lil B, himself there are not many people who are making music that can deny the influence of this man or who can even say that he did not have an influence on them and their music. Without these four men, there would be no one saying “Thank You BasedGod” after something amazing or monumental happened in their lives. There would be no Pink Dolphin without Yung L. And the influence that they had on the world does on an on. In short, no one would be based if The Pack; they presented a whole new world that was not seen by the masses or even other cities in the Bay Area. The way that they were dressing talking and just appearing as different from what people were seeing in their everyday lives; and the fact that they were basically in our own backyards was even better.
During the time that they popped, they were an embodiment of the youth. With their lyrics, they were just talking about the simpler things in life that everyone at the time was doing. Going to house parties, sliding through Richmond, or even being in your whip looking for something to get into like the whole premise of ‘In My Car’. They changed how people were dressing; people wanted to emulate them. They did just that, before vans, I only remember seeing girbaud jeans and air force ones and afterward, that was basically our regional shoe. The way that they were talking, it was a language that we all understood. It was as if you were having a conversation with your friends while music played in the background. It put everyday life into a soundtrack for a lot of people; even for me, they were speaking on things that I was doing at the time. They personified the everyday life that people were living.
To conclude, they had and still have an impact that I think people don’t see or they choose not to acknowledge. There was a whole culture that came from them creating music for kids in the late 2000s to enjoy. Think about it everyone who is in their late teens to their late twenties, The Pack has been involved in their lives some kind of way. Whether it be for a short amount of time while they were at their peak or it has been for the majority of their lives. These men created something that is bigger than themselves. They literally created something that was for the youth; a lot of people say that they do it for the youth but The Pack actually was an embodiment of that.
Everything today is like a tribute to The Pack; everything I do might as well be a tribute to The Pack; from my clothes, the speech I use, the way I act, and probably even the way music attracts me is because of them and I thank them for shaping my life. In music and the way things are now, we basically owe everything to The Pack. From vans being popular in 2006 to the still being a high selling shoe ten years later. They honestly should have gotten some sort of vans collaboration from this. Nonetheless, they still made a whole subculture amongst young people in the world. A subculture that basically birthed a lot of people today whether they know it or speak on it, The Pack had some sort of influence on their lives and it is great.