New MovesBy Yensil Chung
Its jerkin‘ days are over, but the Inland Empire’s very own Audio Push still gets down to serious business: making quality music. Despite its recent rise to fame, the group has stayed true to its roots—as shown with the recent release of new mixtape Inland Empire. Group members Oktane and Price Tag show off their versatility as artists with head-bopping beats and sick flows, a total 180 from Audio Push’s 2010 hit single, “Up N Down.” Not content to rest on two major hits, Inland Empire is the group’s most ambitious release to date.
Group members Oktane and Price Tag give CULTURE the inside scoop behind the IE, their relationship with hit-maker Hit-Boy and cannabis.
Who is Audio Push?
Oktane: Audio Push is two kids who came out of the IE making amazing music. There’s no real image that we want to project except for fact that we have any lane of music that we choose to have. If we want to make any kind of music, we can make that music. How we dress—whatever it is—that doesn’t matter. We just want people to focus on our music.
What is the significance of the title of your new mixtape, Inland Empire?
Oktane: This is the city where a lot of people are from, yet they won’t claim it. When they get on, they say they’re from LA. So just being from the IE is the significance of it.
Price Tag: It was just us wanting to tell a story on being from the IE. IE is the one of the largest counties, yet nobody who came out from here told a real story of how life is growing up out here so we might as well tell a story; that’s what the mixtape is.
Your first hit single “Teach Me How to Jerk” became a huge craze. What happened to the whole jerkin‘ movement? Do you guys still jerk?
Oktane: I think what people fail to realize is that, for us, it wasn’t a huge movement. It was a way for young people to say, “Yeah, we make music now.” I feel like it’s just a dance—dances get old. We made a song about a dance. That’s it.
Price Tag: Everyone else made it become a “movement.” We were never a part of the jerkin‘ movement; we just were the first people to make the song about it. When we were kids, we just liked dancing. We’ve been working so hard to get out of that. We want to show people that we’re not just any artist, we are true artists making quality music, and we’re not just part of a phase. That’s the image we have been trying to get away from, so no, I’m guessing we’re not jerkin‘.
How have you guys grown as artists since then?
Oktane: We’ve grown musically in every way, from the way we rap to everything. Price produces; I’m just now starting to make beats. There’s always going to be growth as you get older, as for right now people are starting to respect that. They realize, “Okay, they’re older now and they’re not worried about their jerkin‘” Instead of everyone else trying to put us in a box they are realizing that we are legit artists. The growth is all around.
Is either of you MMJ patients? Do either of you use cannabis?
Price Tag: I don’t really smoke [cannabis], but I think its dope for the people that do.
Oktane: No, I don’t do it for recreational reasons. I don’t at all.
Do you support medical cannabis?
Oktane: I support it. If you want to smoke [cannabis] then who cares? I really don’t care. I don’t see any harm to it—cigarettes are much worse than [cannabis], if anything.
Price Tag: I think it’s cool. I support it.
“Hit” on Their Hands
The boys in Audio Push are currently working with Hit-Maker, the young buck beatmaker who’s handled production duties for Lil Wayne (“Drop the World”) and Kanye West (“Niggas in Paris”), among others. So, what’s that relationship like? “We’ve known him forever—that’s our brother, it’s the reason why we signed with him and the reason why we make music to that next level with him,” says Price Tag. “We’ve known him for so long, and we watched him grow with his stuff. The relationship is there and is there outside of the music industry.”