The debut album from Bay Area hip-hop group the Pack is full of silliness, to be sure. The names of the tracks say it all: “I Look Good,” “In My Car,” “In the Club,” “At the Club,” “I’m Shinin’.” And like the group’s 2006 ode to sneakers, “Vans,” which owed its sound more to minimal techno than to hip-hop, Based Boys comes off as a hybrid of sorts, somewhere between E-40 and Spank Rock.
Based Boys is all synth stabs, huge 808 bass lines, and stuttering snares, amounting to a healthy amalgamation of dirty-South hip-hop, Bay Area hyphy, and hipster electro. Standouts include the dark synths of “My Girl Gotta Girl Too” and the bump-and-grind percussion of “Booty Bounce Booper.” Classic Miami Bass is referenced, albeit with a more futuristic twist, in “Candy” and “I Look Good.” (“Vans” is included here, too.)
The Pack may not be as avant-garde as the new ghetto music that artists like Diplo and Spank Rock are championing. It is, however, a happy medium between the hipster sound and today’s mainstream hip-hop.