How Audio Push's Price Learned To Find Comfort in Going Solo

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For rapper, producer, and songwriter Price, Evans Street in Los Angeles is where he blossomed into the man he is today. There, he grew up with his mother and five of his relatives in his grandmother's house. With that type of upbringing comes a plethora of tales that serve as the foundation of his second studio album, F.O.E.S., which was released last month.

"I speak about so many different things on the album," Price tells Billboard. "F.O.E.S starts with my single black mother having to take her three children to go move in with their grandma, which is so many of our realities. With the album and the solo experience, everything I do and been doing has been solely about liberating my people, the African-American people. That's been my journey and mission and that's my goal and my world and it's going to stay that way."

Price arrived on the scene in 2009 as a member of the rap duo Audio Push, which found brief success with the single "Teach Me How To Jerk." Within Audio Push, Price had to fuse his story, music and skills with his friend Oktane to make their duo an actual rap group, and that brought the challenge of standing out as individual artists. Despite sacrificing their individuality, Audio Push put out four albums and a slew of mixtapes from 2009 to 2018. Price later ventured out and became a force collaborating with Travis Scott, Mariah Carey, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, and more behind the scenes. 

All the success that Price found with Audio Push, and as a producer-songwriter, has pushed him to comfortably tell his story as a solo artist. "It’s not a chip on my shoulder to where I’m proving anything to anyone else," he explains. "The chip is on my shoulder to prove to myself that my dream isn’t fake. It really is my love and my passion."

To bring his vision home, the California native linked up with DJ Camper, Wyclef Jean, and Hit-Boy to create a body of work fitting for his compelling story. The 12-track project also boasts features from Vince Staples, Bino Rideaux, Algee Smith, Bas, and more. 

Billboard spoke more with Price about F.O.E.S, transitioning into a solo artist, and the importance of telling your own story. 

What makes you want to jump onto the scene as a solo artist when you’ve already proven what you can do behind the scenes?

This is literally what I love to do. There are so many things and so much money I can make outside of music, but I’m always going to bring it back to music even if I'm not making money off it. I wouldn’t have been okay with myself signing off with my story being left on the world and with the world as one-half of Audio Push. I have so much more to talk about and been through so much more. Being in a group, you have to fuse your story, so like every interview we’re doing it was like we had to become one brain. We live two totally different experiences, so that’s why I felt the need to express my solo voice. 

How did you grow this passion for music on your block Evans Street? 

When my family moved to Evans Street my grandmother had a house there so there was already like five people there before we moved in. By the time we got there, I remember it being at least 10 of us in only three rooms. It was so much fun though, because we would steal my grandmother’s cassette tapes and record over them, back when you were able to do that with a boombox. Us as kids, we were creative enough to know how to record over these songs with our voices, and we used to rap over beats from the NBA 2K game on Sega Dreamcast back in the day. 

Were you able to capture that same moment you had with your relatives back then on various points throughout F.O.E.S

One hundred percent. I have been in the game for 10-plus years with Audio Push, so for me it was dope to be able to channel anything different from what I’ve been doing. It was super inspiring to be able to channel those feelings growing up on Evans Street. “Amistad” is a great example of that where we were really fighting with our racist-ass neighbors. Those were real stories that happened on Evans Street.

This album is about me making the best music that I can make and I was able to channel those feelings, and I was happy I was because this is my life story. You know how rappers have a Reasonable Doubt-type album in their discography? This is it for me.  

You have an assortment of sounds on this project. You have fun-sounding records like “Rank,” “Golden,” and “Medals” but switch it up on “Amistad” and “Issue.”

For me, again, I love music and I’m a fan of it, especially the people I looked up to in this game. None of my favorite rappers had just one sound -- they can rap on anything. I had to make an album that I wanted to listen to front to back and I have to make music that’s true to me. I’m taking different approaches with the sound because I want to come out of the gate and establish this with my fans that you know I’m always coming with something different.  

You have a very strong friendship with Hit-Boy. What’s the biggest critique he’s given you that you’ve taken with you as you continue with your music career? 

Hit-Boy is my brother. The bar Hit-Boy gave me was him stressing to me that I use my voice, like my regular rap voice. I have my own unique voice already, so in turn, when I rap, it gives me an even more unique voice like ODB, Method Man, Rick Ross or Jay-Z. Hit-Boy pointed that out to me, because for so many years in my career I tried really hard to have a rap voice. That’s what we grew up on, was trying to have a voice instead of embracing our own voice. The real advice Hit-Boy gave me was to use my voice, my original voice, because using that will let me be original in my own music.  

You got to work with the legendary Wyclef Jean. What’s the impact he had on your career? 

Wyclef is incredible, man. He’s just different. He’s so normal and I get what people mean when they talk about him. He was so embracing of me but he also loves my raps. Just the way he speaks about me I can’t really put it into words it’s just amazing. The best advice he has given me was when we were just talking one day and he said, “People make life hard and they make it harder than it needs to be.” That was it to where it was that simple and plain. Even though that’s such a broad statement, for someone like me I get what that means. Wyclef is incredible.

On the album closer, “Said and Done,” you talk a lot about what you hope for in your career. Do you feel right now you’ve broken some of the generational curses you rap about on this album? 

Yes. Like I said, I’m actually one of the generational cures of my family. Every generational curse has a generational cure, and that’s a segue into the book I’m released with the album. My grandmother did the unthinkable and had sex with her sister’s husband and they ran off to Texas from San Francisco. By the time they came back around to the family, it was about three years later and they had a two-and-a-half-year-old kid who’s my mom and now is the black sheep of the family with my grandma. If she didn’t do the unthinkable I wouldn’t have been born. One of the generational cures came from the darkest places. I’m the first in my family to do anything I’ve ever done. That’s one of the inspirations of the book, talking about what’s going on in these broken minds. 

The purpose of this book is that there are so many people that share the same “unthinkable” stories and generational curses that are $500 million, Tyler Perry movie, life story-level crazy s--t that has never been told and never will be told because there is nobody here to immortalize their legacies. That’s what generational cure is about. My story is still being told but the stories of my mom, my aunts, uncles, grandma, my family before me need to be told. This book will make people go back and have these much-needed tough conversations with their families.

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