Second chances are hard to come by in life, and especially in hip-hop: your first impression is usually your destiny. So back in 2009 when Audio Push came out with “Teach Me How To Jerk,” the impression most had about the duo were that they were one-hit wonders. The song would suffocate their young careers and the harshness of the music industry didn’t help the then-17-year-olds from Inland Empire, Calif.
Fast forward to 2014, and things have turned around. With a new team, HS87, headed by Grammy Award-winning super-producer and rapper Hit-Boy, coupled with a mature and aware mind state after their first taste of fame, Audio Push got their second chance. This time they’ve surprised almost everyone with their latest mixtape, Come As You Are. While the tape’s popularity continues to balloon, Pricetag and Oktane stopped by XXL offices to discuss HS87, C.A.Y.A. and the difference between their first go-around in the industry, and this one. —Emmanuel C.M. (@ECM_LP)
XXL: What is HS87?
Pricetag: That’s Hit-Boy’s label that he put together. It was his dream. We’re signed to him, along with Kevin Roosevelt—K. Roosevelt is a singer, crazy dope artist. We’re all signed to his label, which is through Interscope. We also got mad people on the team, mad producers like HazeBanga, Kent M$ney, B Mack The Queen. We got writers, producers, rappers, artists, we got culture
Oktane: The whole thing is just young culture. We all came together and [are] just collaborating on music and that just grew into one big thing. Now we on jackets and everything.[Laughs]
How did you get started rapping?
Price: Me and my cousin lived in my grandmother’s house. It was like a grip of us all in one house—girl cousins, boy cousins—and we used to rap. We had a boombox with those little mics that hooked up to the boombox and you get to talk into it. We used to steal my grandmother’s tapes, record over her tapes. We’d take, like, beats from a video game, whatever beats we could find and bring the boombox as close to the TV as possible and tape our song. It was terrible, but that’s where I first stared rapping. I remember I left the group because they weren’t dedicated. That’s how I knew I wanted to rap; I always knew I wanted to do it. I literally always wanted to make songs and record songs, but they didn’t want to do it. I had to be 8 years old.
Oktane: I used to go to the YMCA a lot, and I was with my dad and I had heard Rakim’s “The 18th Letter.” I don’t know what it was about that song; it was the title track of that album. That’s was one of the first raps I ever memorized, and I used to rap that like it was my rap, and I was a super young. I was a little kid. That was the very first time I ever rapped and I seriously really considered rapping.
How did you two meet?
Price: We met in middle school. I was in the 6th grade; [Oktane] was in the 7th grade. We met playing basketball. We literally were into all the same stuff, just like now. We were into hooping, we were into clown dancing, krumpin’ at the time, and we lived down the street from each other. We took the same bus to school.
Let’s talk about the growth between 2009 Audio Push when you guys had the smash hit, “Teach Me How To Jerk” to Come As You Are? It’s like you’re are on two different ends of the spectrum. How old we’re you when you made that song?
Price: We made that song we was were 17, going on 18.
Oktane: [We made it the] same way we make music now, it’s just [that now] our minds are in a different place. But it’s the exact same formula, we just talk about what’s going on. At that time, jerkin’ was the shit.
Price: We made the song back when MySpace was poppin’ and we had more songs. At the time, jerkin’ was fun; it was something you do at parties. Before it became battling and all this crazy stuff. Before it was a movement, it was just a cool little thing to do. We were the first people to make a song about it, and that’s just the song that ended up taking off. We ended up getting signed off it, went to South Africa and travelled the world off of it.
Oktane: The difference between then and now is we just grew up. It’s just more maturity to what’s going on, so the music is more mature.
Price: We always have been able to make music, we just had to grow. Like I said, we went to Africa. That changed a lot with us and [how we] dealt with stuff. I’ve got a two-year-old son now. We grew up, we are now putting ourselves into our music. And we’re going to continue to keep growing.