For over a decade, California rap duo Audio Push gave hip-hop’s newer generation consistent flames via four studio albums and a bevy of colorful mixtapes. In 2020, the fire outside of the music industry burns brighter and angrier. Larry Jacks pka Price—one half of Audio Push—is fully aware of the racial and political inferno ablaze nationwide. Although the 29-year-old is coming off a hit single for the fourth season of Insecure (on Issa Rae’s new label) and is a collaboration go-to for artists like Travis Scott and Ty Dolla $ign, Price felt his next mission in music was to speak on and for his people. That ode to Brown and Black people around the world comes in the form of his latest album CLRD, a short ride of modern fresh production and lyrics which celebrate the Black experience. While the album is a homage, it is also set in a classroom to serve as edu-tainment. The eight-track player dons feature production from Boi 1da and song titles like “Tuskegee” and “Mufasa,” intended to inspire pride and awareness for today and yesterday’s ebony narrative.
On the eve of the release for CLRD’s second single, “Maya,” VIBE raps with Price on his stellar solo composition, signing with a Black woman-owned record label, and how making money outside of music allows him to speak to white people however he pleases.
So much has and still is transpiring for Blacks in America. Was there anything specific that inspired CLRD?
People aren’t going to believe me but I had this project done at the beginning of quarantine—like February-March before we were marching and the enemies were sticking knees on our necks. I just wanted to show the beauty of being Black. It’s a greatness that never gets showcased. We always just talk about the struggle, but I wanted to show something different. Things that aren’t making The Shade Room.
Why exactly did you title your second single “Maya”?
I produced the beat and, for some reason, while I’m playing the loop, Maya Angelou’s [poem] “Caged Bird” kept replaying in my head. For no reason at all. It wasn’t even a melody. Just the essence of what she was saying. It’s one of my favorite songs on the project.
I figured it was inspired by Maya’s poem, but I love that you didn’t make a direct reference.
Yeah, like I got a son that’s nine-years-old, baby brothers, nephews who don’t know who Maya is. They know about Mufasa because of Lion King, but they don’t know the spiritual essence of Mufasa and Lion King. To me it’s just finding ways to talk to the youth. I want to spark that in them. Now they know about Maya Angelou and wanna research her.
Why did you feel the statements made on CLRD needed to be conveyed as a solo artist instead of with Audio Push?
Fire ass question. I felt that the statement needed to be made solo because even though the Audio Push catalog has plenty of pro-black music, me and Oktane, we share different seats on our road to life. My dad gang banged. He was in jail since I was five years old. I watched my family sell dope. My family was a part of the Jim Jones massacre. I was gang banging all my life and selling dope at 16. I just survived a different struggle. [As Audio Push] we had to fuse our stories for so many years and make it one. But I have a completely different story from my brother.
How was it like landing the lead single on last season’s Insecure soundtrack?
It was amazing to be a part of Issa Rae’s vision. She’s done many soundtracks, but she’s never done one on her own label. Just being a part of that camp was dope. I knew Pink Sweats before he was even Pink Sweats. We had a session before, so when we worked this time it just felt like it was overdue. I was in there going from room to room trying to get on everything. I was a part of a lot of songs—like six—but luckily [“Cadillac Drive”] was the single. We did the record in like 15 minutes because Pink Sweats is fast! I couldn’t even help with the writing process. I wanted to write some of his parts, but he’s so fast and so fire he was just running through it. I just had to have a verse ready.
You’ve worked with not just superstars, but exceptional talents. Travis Scott is one that most wouldn’t normally associate you with…
I’ve worked with Travis from the beginning! Before he even had braids and shit. I worked with him on Pusha T’s “Blocka;” I co-wrote a lot of songs on his first and second album. I co-wrote “Antidote.” Yeah, that’s my dog.
You’ve also worked with Ty Dolla $ign. How do you add on to someone with that much writing and production talent?
I’m solo so I gotta pop my sh*t (Laughs). We been fucking with Ty before Ty was Ty. That’s my ni**a, for real. We was pulling up on Ty’s shows at the Key Club when there was twenty people in the crowd. Then he was coming to our shows when like 600 people showed up. He was on “Sweat” with us, a lot of records. I’ve been in this music sh*t since I was 13-years-old. I’m just finally coming into my own where I can walk into these rooms and talk to these white people how I want.
How did the partnership with Madeline Nelson’s Heads Music label come into fruition?
There ain’t an interview or press run that could compare to [my publicist, Jennifer Williams] plugging my relationship with Madeline Nelson. Jennifer really loves us and our music so she was just sharing the music, putting me in position to meet dope people. Sadly, I had never before heard of Madeline Nelson. So I did my research. I’m like, “This is a Back woman who started her own company? That’s bossed the f**k up!” I’m a big fan of Dame Dash and one time he said if you can surround yourself around women, especially if you’re a Black man who’s a boss. First call with Madeline, she’s like I’ve been listening to this album all day. She’s shouting out lines and providing an energy that let me know she was really rocking. She provided a deal and partnership that I would’ve been a fool to turn down. And I’ve had dope offers. I’ve also had major offers that were shitty. I’ve been signed to majors twice. I’ll never do it again. Ever.
You’re seriously never signing with another major?
I don’t ever see myself signing to a major label again. What I would do is one off partnerships where I own all my masters. So I’m gonna run it up with Heads Music until I create my own distribution company. This is why I’ve created companies outside of music. There’s a real luxury to not having to wait on music checks. I don’t have to talk to labels. I can create my own flow and run at my on pace. Ten million [dollars] won’t even be enough. I’m not even doing what Master P did. He still got in bed with Priority. I ain’t playing none of those games. Talk to me nice.
You mentioned owning businesses outside of music. Most rappers don’t own food trucks and BBQ restaurants. How did you get into the culinary business?
Carrie’s ended up falling in my lap from my family. My mom and my step pops wanted to get into it. I had the bread to invest. It kind of fell into my lap. My mother and my step pops got a divorce and was like f**k the restaurant. I’m like, “What? Business is cracking. We making $1000 a day. We not giving this sh*t up!” I was blessed to have an aunt that was an incredible chef. She’s damn near the smartest person in my family. Put her in position, we partnered and ran it up. Sticking it out with my restaurant taught me the most about business. I didn’t care about selling food. Honestly, I don’t care about selling barbecue like that. If we’re being 100% transparent, I don’t eat pork. But we gonna cook it right. We’re gonna cook it right and pure. So instead of going to Johnny Ray’s, come to Carrie’s and buy Black.