Pack FM is a well respected MC in the underground realm of hip-hop. So it was no surprise his rhyme spitting expertise was requested to judge the MC competition during the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival earlier this month. After the grueling battle “Inside the Mine” caught up with the emcee to pick his brain about what he judges when he sees new talent, his thoughts on the headlining act and he even gave us a tip about why Brooklyn’s tap water is good for aspiring rappers.
What is the main thing that you look for at the MC competition?
When it comes to an MC competition I like to judge on every aspect of being an MC so I pay attention to their flow, the words, how the crowd is receiving the words, how they project the words, how they manage their breath control, like all the aspects of live performance is what I really judge the hardest. And when you’re up there, making sure the crowd is able to hear what you’re saying is a major part of it because you could have the dopest rhymes but if they don’t know what you’re saying you’re just up there mumbling to a beat. So then I pay attention to what the words are and how difficult it was to come up with those words and if it’s something I never heard before or that I’ve never been able to predict. So I just judge on every single aspect of being a dope MC.
You’ve been in the hip-hop game for a minute, so you go back to the Leaders of the New School days. What is your fondest memory of Busta Rhymes and his 20+ year career?
Busta Rhymes is the illest live performers I have ever seen. He’s at the top of my list when it comes to live hip-hop performers. First time I ever saw Busta Rhymes we were in Toronto in front of 20,000 people and he had every rapper that was on the bill backstage with their jaws dropped. Like this is unbelievable. You just gotta give your hat off to the dude because he’s been doing it for over 20 years and he doesn’t have to perform at the level that he does. He could easily slack and just walk backstage like most rappers do, but he guarantees that he’s gonna put on a dope show. Spliff Star is a remarkable hype man and you can tell that they work very hard at getting their live show as tight as they could possibly do.
What is it about the Brooklyn rap scene that you love about it compared to MC’s on the West Coast or down South and other regions?
It’s gotta be something in the water because to me some of the greatest lyricists of all time are from Brooklyn. And I noticed this the other day particularly Brownsville, Brooklyn. Because you have like from the underground, you got people like Thirstin Howl, Saigon, Sean Price, Lord Have Mercy, Trigger tha Gambler, Smoothe da Hustler, then you got M.O.P., Masta Ace. Then you got Brooklyn all over, other dope artists like Mos Def, Talib Kweli… even Nas was BORN in Brooklyn. Brooklyn just breeds something. I don’t know what it is but it’s an incredible thing that when you’re from Brooklyn you just have this wordiness to you. Not saying that the best MC is from Brooklyn, but overall I think the best lyricist come from BK.
So if you thirsty to get in the game, head over to a hydrant on Sutter Avenue, bust it open and hydrate your skills!