Fresh 2 Def #2: Pack FM
16 Jun 2009
"on the contrary to what you might have initially thought, pack fm is not in fact a dodgy pirate radio station based on a high rise council estate somewhere along the thames estuary. he's actually one of the most talented, hardest working, under rated and over looked rappers of his generation..."
On the contrary to what you might have initially thought, Pack FM is not in fact a dodgy pirate radio station based on a high rise council estate somewhere along the Thames estuary. He's actually one of the most talented, hardest working, under rated and over looked rappers of his generation. Nurtured on a healthy diet of battle rap and graffiti, Pack learnt the ropes in an era that harks back to the very roots of Hip Hop culture - a temporary time warp towards the end of the nineties, bubbling with talent, ambition and above all, a strong sense of unity.
Just before the turn of the century when the internet's promise of world domination had only just begun to start realising its potential and record stores the world over had one last chance to be hailed as temples of worship as opposed to ancient ruins , there was a corner of Brooklyn untampered by the outside world. A microcosm tucked away beneath a city brimming with hope, its two tallest tourist attractions still standing proud, infatuated with an almost tangible sense of invincibility. Born in the right place at the right time, these kids could well be considered Hip Hop's real second generation, with the original youngsters of the 70's now ready to raise families of their own
Following in the tradition of a long line of Brooklynites dating back to the late Biggie Smalls and including the great Jay Z, Pack FM composes all of his lyrics in his head, claiming never to write a single word down through out the whole creative process. This presupposes a knack for freestyling, not to mention Pack's vicious battle technique that earned him the reputation as 'the MC to battle and the MC to lose against', it got to the stage where it was almost a given that a round of sparring would leave you with a bloody nose. Pack honed his skills alongside a mean collection of fellow rhyme sayers which included a more than occasional appearance from artist come actor Mos Def. As well as Tonedeff, Wordsworth, Jean Grae, C Rayz Walz, The Juggaknots, Immortal Technique and Poison Pen to name but a few. Ciphers used to break out at shows scattered across the city as well as outside record stores, including the now famous Fat Beats. Street corners once again became important arenas where respect was won and lost and the ghost of Hip Hop past revisited the present for the kids of the future.
These experiences became sewn into the very fabric of Pack's make up and it wasn't long before he had established himself amongst his peers as one of the forerunners for the scene. But it hasn't all been the fairy tale of New York that I would have you believe - despite an intense work ethic, Pack has entered some fights where the outcome was equally inevitable, except the shoe was on the other foot. At more than one stage along the journey from hot in the streets to hot in the charts, it felt like debut album WhutduzFMstand4? was destined never to see the light of day. It took over 5 years to produce the album from start to finish, not to mention a series of further complications regarding distribution before Avatar finally agreed to put it out and despite a warm welcome from within the Hip Hop community and the wider music press, it failed to really break any significant boundaries in terms of mainstream success.
The follow up which boasts an even more bizarre title - I F**cking Hate Rappers is out early this year and has taken a further 3 years to put together. The nature of this long winded and timely process means that it's very difficult to stay up to date with what's going on in the world of Pack FM, unless you happen to be a fan that lives in New York City. However, Pack's hard work more than makes up this ground, promoting what little material he does have at a tireless and feverish rate.
One thing that Pack definitely has going for him is his record label QN5 Music who do a great job of ensuring that creative freedom is at the top of the priority list when it comes to new releases. Founded by fellow New Yorker and long time friend and collaborator Tonedeff, QN5 is home to a whole host of underground talent that would otherwise be highly rated commercial misfits on more traditional labels. QN5 was built for people like Pack FM by people like Pack FM and it remains the driving force behind a generation of artists schooled together in a truly unique environment. It's yet to be seen how far this unit is capable of carrying his career but despite the obvious impetuous on expansion, given the mutually exclusive choice between worldwide superstar or New York legend, I don't think Pack FM would have to think twice and maybe that's the reason that you haven't heard about him until now.