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Pacifics After dinner talk Some people like it sizzled in the wok, others like it roasted but The Pacifics like their chicken fried! This Chicagoan trio even named their second album after it. 'Sunday's Chicken' released earlier this year on All Natural Inc and featured Rakaa Iriscience of Dilated Peoples, DJ Rhettmatic, Illmind, The Primeridian, Denizen Kane, Iomos Marad and Pep Love. We sat around the table with two third of the group: KP and Strike3.

'Sunday's Chicken' released in May, now, six months later, how have the reactions been?

KP: The reactions have been pretty positive so far. I think people who have been down with us since the beginning have really seen the progression we?ve made, not only creatively, but on a business standpoint as well.

Strike3: Overall we have received a lot of positive feedback to the album, some people didn?t expect us to come with it the way we did on this album.

As for sales, is everything goin according to what you expected?

KP: Sales are not exactly what we expected. We know how to really get the numbers up to where we want them to be at this level, we need to be on the road doing shows and promoting. However, with our conflicting schedules and prior commitments (families, day jobs, etc.), it is tough to travel.

S: Well, we always expect more but we?re definitely satisfied with our current sales. I mean it?s definitely the most we?ve seen in our music careers.

How did you come up with the title and the cover art?

KP: Every Sunday, the fellas would all come over to my place to work on music or hash out any other issues with the group. I came across this fried chicken recipe on TV and put a little twist on it to make it my own. I made it every Sunday before the guys would come over. It became a weekly tradition. So, we figured why not name the album after that tradition. As far as the cover art, we just wanted to display the actual chicken and us stuffing ourselves with it cause that?s exactly what we did every Sunday.

S: Since we all work 9-5 jobs it?s hard for us to really get together and work on music. So, we decided that we should meet up every Sunday at KP?s house to work on music. That?s the actual chicken on the cover art that KP fried!

You have a new single out from that record. It?s called 'Talk Is Cheap' featuring Iriscience, but there's also a new song on it...

KP: Yes. The new song is called ?Southpaws? and is produced by an up and coming artist in Chicago, 1120.

So how did you connect with LA resident Rakaa Iriscience?

KP: We?ve been big Dilated Peoples fans for a while. Our manager had a chance to meet Rakaa when they came to Chicago a few years ago. She maintained contact with him through the years and when it came down to working with artists for our new album, his name was the first to come up. Fortunately, he was down for the cause and showed us a lot of love.

How did you hook up with the AllNatural Inc label?

KP: We had a slew of new material we were working on, and rather than go out-of-pocket like our first album, we decided to shop around for a label to help us out. All Natural, Inc. is the perfect fit for our group, the missing piece to the puzzle. Plus we have nothing but respect for Tone B. Nimble and Capital D. Chicago legends helping out a bunch of up-and-comers trying to make their own mark on hip-hop, that?s a beautiful thing.

S: We basically knew All Natural from way back and we always showed each other mad love and respect. We figured that All Natural, Inc. was the best fit for us so, we approached Tone and Cap. D with the music we had so far and they were feeling what we gave them and decided to put us on. Being on a label of Chicago legends is definitely an honour as well....

What other Chicago artists who are NOT on the AllNatural roster do you like?

KP: There?s a lot! The Molemen, Juice, Earatik Statik, Rhymefest, Thaione Davis, Lyric District, Verbal Kent, Diverse, Jrunk Unklz, Dynamic Vibrations, The Opus, Garden Music, Common, Twista, Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, the list goes on and on.

S: Mass Hysteria, Undecided, Jargon, J.U.I.C.E, Earatik Static, Single Minded Pros, Ang13, Larry Millah, Shadow Master, Typical Cats, Lo-Tec, ALO, Dynamic Vibrations, Prime/Middle Ground, P.R.I.S.M./Network Crew, Molemen, of course Common, Kanye West, Twista, RhymeFest. Man, the list goes on there are just too many talented cats in Chicago!

What are some of your classic Chicago hip-hop tracks?

KP: ?Freestyle or Written? by Juice, ?It?s OK? by All Natural, ?This is How we Chill pts 1 & 2? by Rhymefest/Juice, ?Smoke? by Rubberoom, and of course ?Soul by the Pound? by Common.

S: ?How We Chill? by RhymeFest and J.U.I.C.E, ?50 Years? by All Natural

From the production on your album one can tell that your influences are broad...what/who are your main influences outside hip-hop?

KP: There are too many to name. We?re influenced by the groove of house music, the soul of the seventies, the edge of punk, the raw emotion of the blues. If you make good music, no matter the genre, we?re probably influenced by you in some way.

S: Roy Ayers, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Dave Mathews Band, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Maroon 5, Cold Play, man, the list is goes on...

When did you start with hip-hop?

KP: Back in the mid-eighties, break dancing and doing graffiti. MC?ing/DJ?ing came early in high school.

S: Well, I stated break-dancing when I was a shorty and would always listen to hip-hop but didn?t really get into the culture of hip-hop until the Native tongues days, like when the first Tribe Called Quest album dropped.

What were the first rap groups you listened to?

KP: De La Soul, Slick Rick, Run DMC, NWA, BDP, Kane, Rakim, Special Ed.

S: A Tribe Called Quest, Black Sheep, De La Soul, Big Daddy Kane, Eric B. Rakim, Ice Cube/NWA, Run DMC, MC Lyte, Special Ed and much more....

You recently performed with the legendary Kool G Rap, how was that like?

KP: Kool G. Rap is a legend. Opening for him was an honour! The man has done so much for hip-hop from a lyrical standpoint. Definitely one of the greatest of all time.

S: We were definitely hyped about performing with Kool G Rap. I mean it was an honour performing with one of the cats you grew up listening to.

How did The Pacifics crew get started?

KP: We were all mutual friends back in high school who hooked up occasionally to freestyle for fun and what not. We were all in different crews back then and one day, we just decided to mesh it all together and try it out seriously. The rest is history.

S: The Pacifics started about 94/95. We all knew each other for years through friends but we all started rhyming at different times and with different crews. One day we decided that we were the ones that actually wanted to take it to that next level so, we decided to put our heads together...

Your debut album 'The September First Project: Long Overdue' released independently in 2002. Why did you release it independently?

KP: We really had no other alternative at the time. We figured having total control of the project would be a plus, also not having to worry about creative control. It was just the best option at the time for us.

S: Well actually, we ran into a lot of set backs at that time, it came to a point where we had to just put it out ourselves.

That album is out-of-print or can we still buy it somewhere?

KP: I think the album is out of print. We only pressed a limited number of copies.

S: Yeah, it?s out-of-print...

Will it be re-released?

KP: Most likely not.

S: As of right now no, but you?ll never know.

How would you compare it to 'Sunday's Chicken'?

KP: The sound wasn?t as developed as it is now. We seemed to stick to the same style, lyrically and musically. It was a solid effort but we knew we had a lot more to prove to ourselves.

S: Man, honestly I can?t even listen to that album compared to ?Sunday?s Chicken?. I mean I?m not ashamed of it or anything but, it?s just seeing or even hearing how much we?ve grown musically compared to the first album is just so drastic.

Chops produced on the first album, why wasn?t he on the second?

KP: Chops and the Mountain Brothers have shown us nothing but love from the beginning. They?re family to us till this day. However, we didn?t want to approach him on this album asking for anything less than he deserves. I?m sure that he would have been down for it, but out of respect and lack of a budget we had to seek out other options.

S: I know that he was busy doing a lot of other projects at the time and like KP said I don?t think we had the proper funds as well....we?re still a bunch of broke rappers (laughs)

Are you gonna collaborate with him in the future?

KP: You bet your bottom dollar we are. That?s a given.

S: We would like to, but we?ll see what happens.

Some songs of yours appeared on two soundtracks, of the movies 'The Debut' and 'Lumpia', how did that happen, what?s the movies about?

KP: Those are two movies written and directed by Filipino Americans. Both directors approached us to contribute our music to the soundtracks and we accepted without hesitation. We?re proud to have contributed to the cause.

You guys joined the Yellow First Campaign in 2000 and 2002. Is it still in effect?

KP: The Yellow Fist Campaign was our way of standing up towards issues that negatively affected the Asian American community. We contributed our time and effort with a bunch of other artists to raise awareness in our communities, and using art making a political statement. Though the name doesn?t exist anymore, the principles behind the campaign are always with us, and we?re always ready to stand behind them.

S: It was mainly about the hate crimes and stereotypes towards the Asian Community and we basically used the Bloodhound Gang as an example for that since they were out there in the public eye with this song called ?Yellow Fever?, a song degrading Asian women. The Yellow Fist Campaign still lives on through a number of other organisations and communities.

Can you tell us something more about the group 'I Was Born With Two Tongues'?

KP: The Tongues are a HUGE reason the Pacifics are here today. The influence they have on us is evident not only through our art, but also how we handle ourselves in our daily lives. They?re family to us.

S: They were a spoken word group made up of 4 members based here out of Chicago. They are now currently working on their own projects but you never know they may be back together.

A lot of big names in the Asian-American scene are from the West Coast. How do you explain that?

KP: That?s just where a lot of Asian immigrants have settled after travelling overseas. You cross the Pacific and plant your flag on the West Coast. As far as the scene, hip-hop is so big out West, you?re bound to find yourself some Asians wrecking shop on the hip-hop tip.

And they?re almost all DJ?s?

KP: True. It?s like a whole new subculture out there. It?s tripped out. But it?s good to see Asians representing hard on the DJ scene, not only out West, but around the world.

You got Rhettmatic on your album, that must've been an honour...how did you track him down?

KP: We met when we did a show out in Pomona, CA a few years back. He checked us out and said he dug our sound. We just kept in touch through the years and luckily were blessed to have him contribute to our album.

To be more specifically, you?re all Filipino-Americans, how many times have you been labelled Filipino hip-hop instead of straight hip-hop and is I difficult for you to get out of that box?

KP: People who label us ?Filipino Hip Hop? probably don?t have a good grasp on what hip-hop really is. Hip-hop is hip-hop. It?s not just the music, the clothes, the slang, the dancing, it?s everything. It?s a culture that is represented globally by different races. That?s what makes it beautiful.

S: We?ve been labelled that plenty of times and as the other fellas know it probably bothers me the most. It?s not difficult for us to get out of that box because the majority of the time we?re labelled as Filipino hip-hop mostly by Filipino?s, so we don?t find ourselves stuck in that ?box? within the hip-hop community.....

Do you feel like you?re making it easier for Filipino-American rap artists to break through?

KP: We just want to contribute to the culture that has brought us so much growing up. Our race has nothing to do with our love for hip-hop. But, if we influence other Fil-Am?s to give back to hip-hop in any way, then that?s a good thing. Just make sure you contribute something positive. Represent yourself well. Show the nay-sayers we belong here with everyone else. Do your thing, your way.

S: I believe that we made it easier for them. When we started there were not too many Filipino-Americans that were making much noise outside of their own communities.

Have you been confronted with a lot of racism in the rap industry?

KP: Racism is found everywhere in every facet of our society, even hip-hop. Hip-hop is just a reflection of the current state of the people. Even though we have not had too many instances of racism happen to us directly, it is the fact that race (and religion) divides this planet. We need to communicate with each other more, stop shutting each other out. There?s no reason for any of that, it only brings fear and hate, two things the world could do without right now.

S: If you call it misconceptions or pre-judging racism, then yes. But not straight in your face racism, at least not that I can recall.

What are your favourite hip-hop albums of all-time?

KP: ?Illmatic?, ?Buhloone Mind State?, ?93 til Infinity?, ?Criminal Minded?, ?Low End Theory?, ?It Takes a Nation of Millions?, ?Paid In Full?.

S: I don?t have just one, there?s albums like Black Sheep?s ?A Wolf In Sheeps Clothing?, ATCQ ?Midnight Marauders? to Jay-Z?s ?Blueprint? and ?Reasonable Doubt?, Nas ?Illmatic?.

What albums are you listening to right now?

KP: Slum Village?s latest, ?The Grind Date? by De La Soul, ?The Minstrel Show? by Little Brother and ?Da All Nighta? by the Primeridian.

S: Slum Village ?Slum Village?, Little Brother ?The Minstrel Show?.

The Chicago White Sox are World Series champions again after 88 years, how glad are you?

KP: Very glad. Hopefully, we won?t have to wait another 87 years for another one. Chicago deserves this win.

S: I?m definitely happy the White Sox won! I?m more of a Sox fan than a Cubs fan.

What makes KP's chicken so tasty?

KP: It?s all in the batter, baby.

Strike, do you agree?

S: Definitely.

What's the best part of the chicken?

KP: The thighs. Dark meat rules.

S: The thighs, no doubt.

How do you eat it best?

KP: With a pot of steaming rice and some hot sauce and ranch dressing on the side.

S: And some ketchup.

Are you becoming more careful now with eating chicken because of the bird flu?

KP: I?m a bit concerned. But that chicken is way too good to pass up. Flu or no flu, we?re gonna eat it, damnit.

S: That?s right. How can you be more careful? It?s not like you can tell if it got the bird flu or not.

What's the best rice to eat with chicken?

KP: Kokuho Rose! The best rice on the planet.

S: I prefer Jasmin Rice!

What?s the best thing to drink with chicken?

KP: A nice cold bottle of beer.

S: Either that or water, Diet Coke...

Now we?re talking bout food, do y?all like that famous hot dog Red Hot Chicago?

KP: Chicago has the best hot dogs on the planet. Scratch that. Chicago has some of the best FOOD on the planet, period.

S: I crave for a Red Hot once in a while...

What would life be without hip-hop?

KP: The whole world would be off-beat. Hip-hop gives us rhythm, a beat for the world to bop its head to.

S: Life would be non-existent.

What?s next for The Pacifics?

KP: We?re working on a few projects for next year so be on the lookout!

S: We?ll hopefully put out a new EP or LP by summer 2006.

Shout-outs?

KP: Peace to anyone who gave us a listen.

S: Our Manager Jona, our label All Natural Inc., the whole 606entertainment.com crew and all my Family and Friends.....

Thanks!

S: No thank you (laughs)

 

POSTED 11|05|2005
conducted by cpf

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