“If this is the first thing you’re hearing, dammit you’re already late.” You may or may not have heard of Audio Push, but they are far from new to the scene. Their latest project, Come As You Are is a rebirth for the duo. Oktane and Price, from Inland Empire, California, are solidifying themselves as who’s next in hip-hop and on their last stop of their Come As You Are tour they proved that they’re next in line.
Performing at the legendary SOB’s for the Hot 97 Who’s Next series, the talented duo represented for HS87, Hit-Boy‘s record label, and brought everything they had to the stage. Their energy was magnetic and electric, riveting the crowd as well as themselves. They were totally in sync with another, and seemed to be enjoying every minute of it. They were grateful to be on the East Coast, and getting love for their music. They performed a variety of tracks from Come As You Are including “Turn Down,” Theme Song,” and the fan favorite “Shine.” Hit-Boy himself even joined them on stage to perform “Block Party” and his new single “Alert,” featuring Nipsey Hussle. They captivated the crowd and by the end of their set they had everyone hooked. We got a chance to kick it with them before the show to talk about the mixtape, and to see what’s next for the shining stars.
Lets talk about the cover of the mixtape. What is the meaning behind the cover?
Price: Honestly it’s just a dope visual. We wanted to shoot something that would look like it would be a picture forever. Something you could see in a thrift store forever. It looked like it could be a vinyl, and that’s what we were trying to go for. It has texture, and just looks like a classic picture.
Where were you guys when you shot it?
Price: I think we were in like Tennessee. We were on the Wayne tour in a random ass city, and we were just walking, and looking at the scenery and we were just like, “Yo, we should do a shoot right here.” And we got the camera, and just did it. And it ended up being the album cover.
So you had no idea at the time?
Price: Nope, we had no idea.
Since this wasn’t your first mixtape did you guys feel like you really needed to reestablish yourselves with this one?
Price: Definitely. The prior tapes were more when we were young. With this project we felt like we found ourselves. We got older, and we just tapped into a different place with our music. We made this whole album while we were on tour and it was just dope. We just found ourselves, and locked into our sound.
So I know you guys recorded this while you were on tour with Lil Wayne, and it seems like every track has its own theme. Was it something that happened intentionally or did it just organically happen that way?
Oktane: It kind of just organically happened that way. Either he would have an idea, or I would have an idea, or the beat and it was just all organic and it came together as one thing. It was just different times, different situations, and us just vibing with it.
Lets talk about this lyric on “Come As You Are,” Oktane:
“Huh, the game done changed, cause it’s like So many people try to be Hov in fear of being Dame/That these New Boys wings get Clipse by the new Young Guns of the game/So don’t Kriss Cross my words nigga, you don’t hear this from California/So I guess were just OutKast, can you smell the Stankonia.”
Oktane: I know for a fact that line goes over peoples head. I put like all the duos names basically in a rap, and I don’t think people even caught that so that was like something clever. That was actually one of the few times where I’ll go back on a verse and switch it cuz I usually just like to catch whatever the moment was. The good, bad, and the ugly of the moment. That was actually something where I wanted the verse to be super perfect, so I went back and switched that line and I remember being on tour recording it.
Now talking about duos, there are a lot of great duos from Outkast to Mobb Deep to Clipse. There are so many, but few get to be as famous as those I just mentioned. Do you feel any type of pressure as a rap duo?
Oktane: No pressure at all we just wanna take the torch and keep it going.
Price: I feel like we the best. I know that no other group is able to perform like we can, and all around just do what we are able to do. We are starting young, I’m 23/24 so I know we gonna be the illest group to ever rap. Period. I feel like that.
How has the “Come As You Are Tour” been so far?
Price: This tour was dope just cuz it was our first one; it’s ours. It was small just on some fan appreciation shit. We got to really feel it out, and learn the ropes of a tour, and promoters. We’ve done other artists’ tours, but for it to be ours, it was ill. All the spots have been just genuine. It’s just genuine shows where we hop off stage and get in the crowd, talking to the people, kicking it with them after. The reaction has been ill. Next year is gonna be way crazier. More cities, bigger venues.
What is next after the tour? Are we working on the album?
Oktane: We’re always making music so yeah I would say that. We are also finishing up Hit-Boy’s album. His album is crazy. I wanna go see my family for Christmas so that’s what I’m doing , and then I’m getting in the studio with my pals. Making great music, and then we just gonna pace it. We gonna give you these visuals from this awesome piece of work.
Which visual is next?
Oktane: We’re shooting with Joey Bada$$ for “Tis The Season” tomorrow. “Turn Down”, “Theme Song”, they are coming.
Price: We are probably gonna shoot videos for all the favorites, and since most of the songs are everybody’s favorite, we are prolly gonna shoot videos for all of them.
Is Nem Perez directing all of them?
Price: Most of them. He’s ill. He’s a part of Audio Push. He’s directing most of the videos and what he’s not directing the homie Peter Baltimore is gonna do it. We’re directing our own videos as well, like I’m writing treatments. I wrote two treatments so we working.
The album seemed to have a heavy R&B influence in the beginning, and slowly throughout the album, it progressively got more turned up. Was that something you guys intentionally set out to do?
Price: We for sure wanted to capture moods, and we wanted to try it on this album, and we were successful at it. We are gonna try that for all our albums. It’s just about capturing moods, and moments. We want you to get locked in, and just float with it. You just go through emotions with it. I’m crazy about R&B, and we’re crazy about rap so we just fuseing it.
Oktane: It’s everything that we grew up on.
Price: It’s just the moments we feel you should be at so after you hear this, then now maybe we feel like you should be turned down.
Oktane: We don’t want you to just sit and listen to rap and beats. We want you to really feel something now.
Price: We putting it together on how we think you should feel, and how we feel it should be listened to .
What is your favorite song off the album?
Price: “Shine” is mine. I really love all the joints but “Shine” is my favorite. Creating it we just tapped into a whole different place. It just makes me feel different than any other song. Like you always get these special joints, well some people don’t even get some in their career but we were lucky and blessed enough to get a special record and “Shine” is that. And whether or not it sells millions of copies or whatever it does, it’s still special.
Oktane: Mine just changes everyday. Like right now I’m banging “Anything Goes” today. So for right now, me today it’s that but who knows.
Tell me about the ‘Shine” video.
Price: We shot that video in Chicago, and it was our easiest video ever shoot, hands down. It was the smoothest, and the quickest ran. We had never even met Nem Perez before or nothing, and we pulled up, shot the video, left and did a show on the Wayne tour. We had a show that night, and after that show we hopped on the bus and started finishing the album. We were going crazy all tour, and that was one of the longest days but it was so fun. All of the stars were aligning. We were in Chicago and it was sunny, and everyone thought we were in California and it was so perfect. It was a good time.
Is there any artist or producer you would like to work with?
Price: For me I wanna work with Jeff Bhasker. He’s fucking ill. He did Kanye’s 808’s and Heartbreak and Fun’s album. He’s like super sick. I wanna work with him. He’s like the only producer I wanna work with cuz we kind of got that handled. I wanna work with Erykah Badu, Musiq Soulchild those kind of people cuz as far as rap is concerned I feel like its gonna happen in time.
Oktane: I gotta say people you wouldn’t really think of. I gotta say people like Daft Punk cuz I’m pretty sure that we are gonna rap with other rappers.
Price: Like I would love to do a song with Sade. That type of stuff doesn’t happen, but I’m just speaking to the universe. But we’ll see.
How do you guys feel to be representing for Inland Empire?
Price: Amazing. It feels awesome cuz if you go and do your research it is the biggest county in the world. It’s huge and we run it. We are really the first rappers from there. It’s an untapped area that we can rep and be proud of. It’s home for us that nobody else can call home, and we are making people happy to be from there and rep there.
How does it feel being a part of Hit-Boys’s team?
Oktane: It’s dope cuz we’ve known him since we were super young. It feels like if you knew all your best friends, and they all ended up working together and traveling the world. I feel like everyday I’m just chilling with my homies. Last night it was crazy, like we walked into the studio and he was working with Mariah Carey. And It was just like surreal cuz these are our friends, our homies, with Mariah Carey. We just happen to get a check and we be with our homies. And Hit-Boy is the best producer on earth so its cool to be able to just go upstairs and get cool beats, the best beats.
Price: That’s really how it feels.
Is there ever times where you hear a Hit-Boy beat, and want to keep it for yourselves?
Price: All the time. There are definitely beats where he be like “nah I cant let that one go,” but If he does do that then I’ll be like well now you gotta go cook us up something.
Oktane: One thing a lot of people don’t know is that Hit-Boy doesn’t produce all of our music. Haze is incredible too. HS87 is the home of the dopest producers. Rey Reel, S. Dot, Haze, They are all on Beyonce’s new album by the way. They got joints on there. That’s all HS87. We ain’t playing.
So could you be doing making this kind of music anywhere else?
Oktane: No. If It wasn’t with all of my friends, I don’t think so. We get the energy to make this music with people we are genuinely friends with.
Price: We go into the rooms with no ego. There is none of that. We are real homies, and we just keep it g with each other, and are honest with the music. None of us be lying. We don’t do no hoe ass shit. We don’t do wack stuff that other wack dudes do. We solid with each other.
Oktane: I was just saying this the other day like we don’t have normal clique problems.
Do you feel like people have been sleeping on you?
Price: A lot of people say like our timing wasn’t right, our sound wasn’t right but I always felt like we were the best. Like whatever we didn’t have, we made up for it in something else. When people are just catching on it’s like we been doing it for ten years. I don’t think people understand how long that is. I’m not new to this, he’s not new to this, Hit-Boy’s not new to this. None of us are new to this even though we are young.
Price: But they can sleep. If you late you late, but eventually you coming. They will be attending the Audio Push Academy. We letting the music speak, which is the best thing about it. We put this project out with no help, no push, no nothing but us and our team. Like our team meaning like our homies, and we just created the music, and put the music out and it’s speaking for itself. Everything has been organic, there is no label push. Let’s be clear: nothing.
Oktane: A lot of people think because we are signed to a label, that this is why this is here. This is because we decided to make this and put this out. A lot of people think Hit-Boy makes every beat and that’s so not true. A lot of people try to say a lot of things to discredit that this music is good. We are two kids that made a jerk song, and now we make good music. We are good period.
Price: People are haters.
So you don’t regret doing the jerk song?
Oktane: No, were just the kids who showed up to high school naked. Everyone acts like that is the worst thing on planet earth. They want us to be embrassed by it, but we’re not. We liked it at the time.
Price: We could never regret it. At that time jerking was the coolest thing ever. The same way you two-step and grind on a girl, we use to jerk. We made one song, but we went to Africa off that song, we traveled the world, and provided for our families as kids. That song was incredible, awesome. We are on a video game for that song, I could never regret it. That song gave us time to grow. We got to learn the game and become businessmen.
Oktane: Everyone having that bias just made us become so good that you can’t ignore it.
Price: Now we got this album that we put together, and cant nobody tell us shit.
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