If you don’t know Price of Audio Push that well, you may be shocked to know that he’s actually a huge fan of the late Dick Gregory. As a matter of fact, in Audio Push’s new single “Planet Earth Is Live,” Price pays homage to the legendary comedian, civil rights activist and writer. Nine days after the record hit the ‘Net, the world mourned Gregory’s tragic passing. Naturally, Price was in shock.
“Dick Gregory was like the last of the greats,” Price told VIBE. “He was definitely one of the Last Lights Left for damn sure! He is the album. He’s what this sh*t really means.”
It’s been a wild ride for California rap duo thus far. For eight years, Audio Push’s Price and Oktane have made their mark in the rap game with infamous singles like “Teach Me How To Jerk” and unforgettable mixtapes like The Good Vibe Tribe (2015). They’ve flourished to become the West Coast’s most revered tag team with a wide range of lifetime fans. Seriously, millennial rap fans have been jamming out to their music since they were in elementary school.
“We got kids that have been listening to us since they were 13 and are 19-20 now,” Price said. “They grown and sh*t now. That type of sh*t is wild. At the same time, we are leaders and we understand our role in this business and the game.”
Price and Oktane’s role in the game has evolved significantly over the last year since they dropped their first independent album 90951 with the support of their former management. The album, which features Hit-Boy, Musiq Soulchild, BJ The Chicago Kid and more, was the duo’s initial step into going completely independent after moving on from HS87. Now that Hit-Boy is focused on embracing his own role as an artist, Price and Oktane felt like it was time for them to do the same.
“Everything Last Lights Left stands for is the truth,” said Oktane. “It all coincides and is all-cohesive anyways. Last Lights Left is… I just want everybody to really know that when you hear it, it’s f**king amazing and it’s just the very beginning of everything we’re coming up with. It’s literally the beginning of our new creative process after becoming fully free to be creative with it. I’m hella excited to get this started and get it all going.”
Audio Push act as the Last Lights Left on their new album, which holds 12 brand new records executively produced by Price, co-produced by Eric Choice with assistance from Dot Da Genius, and no features. After giving their lead single “Planet Earth Is Live” the visual treatment a few weeks ago, Audio Push celebrates the release of their fresh album by bringing their next single “Stay” to life in their video.
Before the album’s release via their Good Vibe Tribe imprint, we caught up with Price and Oktane to talk about Last Lights Left and how Dick Gregory made an impact on their new album. We also touch on why they decided to move on from HS 87, and their new ventures with the Good Vibe Tribe. You can find out more about their new journey by watching their new Last Lights Left documentary, which dropped yesterday.
Stream and/or cop Last Lights Left available everywhere for purchase and streaming on iTunes, and catch their new video for “Stay” below.
VIBE: You’ve got the new album Last Lights Left coming in Sept. How do you feel about your next independent release?
Price: This album is 100% independent with us curating every piece of it from top to bottom. It’s our vision, our plans, our strategy, our music. I produced the entire album with co-production from my brother Eric Choice. It’s really just us. Oktane is spearheading sh*t on the creative side visually. Yea man, this sh*t is dope.
Oktane: Everything is everything man. It’s going to be a wild ride now that we finally get to do everything at our own pace. Create how we want to create. Do things how we want to do it, and drop exactly when and where we want to drop. It’s about to get super fun. We’ve got a lot of music stacked up, and a lot of video being shot. We’re just working everyday, and I’m really excited. We’re going at it full speed.
How did you decide on the album’s title Last Lights Left?
Price: We had put a whole list of song titles and album titles all this sh*t on a white board that Oktane had in the studio. Long story short, it was full of different titles for songs. “Planet Earth Is Live” was on that list as well. We got the list first before we made the music so we were making songs to match the titles. That was kind of fresh as f**k to do. With Last Lights Left, we didn’t know what it was going to be whether it was going to be a song or album, but the moment when we saw it on the white board we instantly thought that would be a project like it needed to be our project’s title. That sh*t stands for everything.
Oktane: Left Lights Left was just one of the titles that was on there. I believe at first we started making a song for it, then it just hit me one day that it has to be the title of the album. We hadn’t even had a song completely done yet. Last Lights Left was just sitting there because I remember it sitting there with no identity yet, but it had the most meaning out of everything else on there. Our album starts off with a narrative because its narrated by this chick named Lioness. She starts off by saying “I close my eyes and I see darkness, I open my eyes and I see darkness. Who is the light? What is the light? Where is the light?” Period. It’s that simple. When you close your eyes at anytime, you’re going to see darkness. Sadly when open our eyes and look at this world, what do we see? Darkness, in different forms whether it’s the sh*t happening in Virginia or Donald Trump cosigning neo-Nazis. Then just beyond that. Even in music, everybody thrives off being so sad and evil. That’s become what’s cool. If that’s what they want to do, that’s them, but us we’re just aware that there’s nothing wrong with being happy as f**k or having one girl and a family.
Price, the lead single in “Planet Earth Is Live” you dedicated several bars to the late Dick Gregory. Explain how he inspired that part of your verse.
Price: First off, rest in peace to Dick Gregory the great, the legend, the god, the now ancestor. All my homies who really know me, know me and my wife and my family, they know I be heavy into African spirituality, black liberation and equality. I’m all about black empowerment. Not that I’m against anybody, but I love strong, black, wise people and the things that they’ve done knowing what we’ve had to endure in this country. To have a person like Dick Gregory come up throughout everything and see it all from watching Martin Luther King, Jr’s march to counseling Malcolm X through different things he was going through, then see the Internet age. He was so fearless to be a black man in this country and to know the things he knows and see the things he’s seen. Ninety percent of the people who are like Dick Gregory or have experienced what he did are silent and quiet. They’re scared like mice. Dick Gregory was a prime example of a leader who used his voice and wasn’t scared to do it, and I love that about him.
Yeah, yeah, they done seen everything from A-Z
Keep your religion in this slavery
I got the game from Dick Gregory
So don’t you speak unless you paying me
“Keep your religion in this slavery.” Once I started figuring out things about religion and just some of the lies told… for example I grew up in a Christian household, so I grew up thinking Jesus was white. Then you look in the Bible, the same Bible they be telling you to read and praise, and it shows and tells you that his skin was bronze and had hair of wool. Once those type of small things and details are what woke me up. Then when I started listening to Dick Gregory and find out the truth about religion and slavery and real racism going on man, it just made me love me. I also love that he thought everything was a conspiracy. Everyone hated that about him but I loved it. That’s the reason why I genuinely question… just like he questioned how Prince and Michael Jackson died, I’m going to question how he died. I know he was 84 so he was old, but… man f**k that. I’m going to question that just like he questioned everything.
Explain the disconnect you both had with Hit-Boy’s Hits Since 87 (HS87). Was it a mutual decision or was it your choice to move on from the label?
Oktane: As far as the “disconnect,” I mean it’s all love. That’s forever family and all of that, but on the business side things just went a little left. The focus was just off of the game plan. Then when everything went left with Interscope, and we were left to do what we’re supposed to do and fend for ourselves. We ain’t really take it any way because we always had to do that anyways, so it wasn’t nothing too crazy. We’re just doing business a different way this time. That’s all.
How is your relationship with Hit-Boy now?
Price: We had a deal before we got the Hit-Boy deal. It’s not like Hit Boy just got rid of us. That’s our bro. But Hit wants to be an artist, and we understand and respect that. We’re friends and we brothers before all of this sh*t. We used to sleep at his mom’s crib on the floor. So if you’re my brother and you want to do something else with yourself and your life and it’s nothing that’s going to hurt you or me, then we support it 100,000 percent. We understood that, and after us being in this business for so long we knew that at the end of the day we have to 100 percent be about Audio Push in order for Audio Push to get where we need to go, and vice versa with Hit-Boy or any other artist. Once we realized we had the opportunity to build our own brand and have our own label and situations and not owe anybody money, oh we did that. So it’s not so much of a “disconnect” than us being wise and using wisdom.
As apart of your new solo business venture, do you have any other lanes you want to pursue?
Oktane: Music is just vehicle so you’re going to see clothing, all the videos, which we own and do ourselves. All of those are under our own businesses and companies. And Price has his own restaurants so you know he ain’t playing no games, and he’s expanding.
Price: Yeah I have a BBQ and soul food restaurant called Carrie’s. We got four and a half stars on Yelp! And we’re the sh*t. [Laughs] Hey I pride myself in having those four stars because some of the best and even your favorite restaurants don’t even have three. One day, I’ll have a five-star restaurant. Entrepreneurship, man. That’s all I’ve ever been about. I’ve loved it since I was a kid. I had my first job when I was 13, so I’ve always been into having my own sh*t. I have a restaurant, an e-commerce business, and just different things like that. I’m trying to open up a barber shop in 2018.
What’s in store for the rest of 2017?
Price: Ending 2017, we’re just putting out more music and dropping more clothes. We’re really just expanding the Good Vibe Tribe brand and solidifying it. That’s really what 2017 and all 2018 is going to be, and we’ll be reaping the benefits of doing so. It’s also going to be us establishing our sounds and giving the fans something to latch on and hold on to. Our fans love us and they know what to expect, but at the same time they don’t. It’s a good thing, and it’s also a bad thing. So now we’ve really established our sound with me doing the production along with my boy Eric Choy and Oktane. As he dabbles into producing more and uses his good ear, he’ll helps us really establish our sound. This is how we’re doing it. We’re the young fresh kids who aren’t going to drink lean and pop xans. We don’t want to talk about any of that. We don’t have anything against anyone who does, but that’s not our story.