Pac 10

    {grate 3.5}

    Let’s face it — San Diego ain’t exactly known for its hip-hop. Overshadowed by the high-profile Los Angeles two hours north, even the flashiest MCs and producers have trouble snagging a second glance. With their debut album Franchise Players, local boys Pac 10 show that, while San Diego may not be Hollywood, we’ve got something worth listening to down here, too, bitch.

    The whopping 11 members of Pac 10 (not that numbers matter in hip-hop — how many people are in Jurassic 5, again?) pass the mic and production duties seemlessly, each verse flowing into the next, each beat building on the last. Players starts off on a determined note with “A Day in the Life Of…,” a passport to the hallways of the lackluster music industry in “America’s Finest City.” One somber flute meets the lyrical melancholy with hollow despair. Just two tracks later, the tempo jumpstarts, the bass weighs heavier and the mood waxes a whole lot lighter. In “Need It, Want It,” the crew spits over a club-worthy beat about a girl who’s “obsessed with photos” and “likes collecting logos.”

    And while “Need It, Want It” could be Gov. Sarah Palin’s new theme song — considering her $150K, designer-label wardrobe — Pac 10 gets downright political on a couple other tracks, questioning the government’s obsession with fighting terrorism while failing to admit its own terrorist activities on the song “Domestic Threats.”

    Pac 10 covers all the bases of SoCal free-livin’ with equally varied production techniques, ranging from soulful joints to those recalling Sunspot Jonz’s work on the Legends album, Angels Wit Dirty Faces. Players makes an overall solid debut effort, appealing to underground aficionados and casual dabblers alike. Most importantly, Pac 10 prove that you don’t have to go up to the Bay or L.A. to cop some of that fresh Cali sound.

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