rowing up in the often blood-soaked streets of his Inland Empire neighborhood, where violence was a common occurrence, Audio Push co-founder Larry “Price” Jack, Jr. was forced to man up quickly. Born in 1990 to a 16-year-old single mother, Price was surrounded by a trifecta of strong women, including his aunt and grandmother. His mother was a major influence in the music he listened to — from Jill Scott and Snoop Dogg to Erykah Badu and Dr. Dre, the various notes of all styles of music could be heard floating throughout his household.
At 15, Price found out he was going to be a young father, which pushed him into adult mode seemingly overnight. He overloaded himself with school work so he could graduate high school at 16 and promised himself (and his mother) he would get signed to a label by the time he was 18. As fate would have it, the baby wasn’t his, but that moment changed his entire life and put him on the path to musical notoriety.
Audio Push was officially signed to Interscope Records in 2008. Along with his partner-in-crime Julian “Oktane” Brown, Price opted to leave the label two years later to start pushing out singles independently. His blossoming working relationship with producer Hit-Boy led to a deal with Hit-Boy’s label, Hits Since ’87 Inc., where they crafted countless tracks for a bevy of artists.
In addition to releasing Audio Push albums like 2016’s 90951 and 2017’s Last Lights Left, Price has penned numerous songs for artists like Travis Scott, Mariah Carey, Jill Scott, and most recently, viral sensation Bhad Bhabie, the unruly 14-year-old from the Dr. Phil show who coined the catchphrase, “Cash Me Ousside.”
Bhad Bhabie (real name Danielle Bregoli) recently signed a deal with Atlantic Records much to the chagrin of music purists. She followed up with a video for “These Heaux,” which Price co-wrote, and her latest single, “Hi Bich,” is currently sitting at #28 on the Billboard R&B/Hip Hop chart, while “These Heaux” moved from #86 to #70 in the last week.
HipHopDX reached out to Price to talk about his favorite collaboration, his work with Bhad Bhabie and why he thinks the polarizing teen has a future in music.
What’s been your most incredible collaboration?
I’m going to be 100 percent real. I would have to say Jill Scott. The night I worked with her, one of my friends had got killed. I got the call when I was in the studio with her. At the time, in the IE, there had been just a lot of shit. San Bernardino County was like the top murder capital of California. We had been going through so much shit already, then when my homie died, I was fucking crushed. I just wanted to leave, but I couldn’t leave. I took a little time for myself, like 5 or 10 minutes, to just gather myself. When I went back in, she was just so magical. She was like an angel. Literally that’s the only way to put it. It sounds so animated and extra’ed out …
No it doesn’t.
I’m sincere. She was literally like an angel as far as her energy and how she just comforted me, and didn’t even realize it. She was just being herself. I didn’t come back in like, ‘Oh my friend’s dead.’ I didn’t even mention it to the room until later on, about two hours after I found out. She was just being her. It just helped me a lot. Then the song we did — we did two different ones. We did one for Hit-Boy’s album and then we did an Audio Push one featuring Logic and Jill Scott, [2014’s “Juveniles”].
Let me get this straight. You got the call, went outside to process the news, came back in and she felt the energy you were giving off?
Well, when I came back in, I was like, ‘I’m sorry about that. I had to take that call. I had a little family emergency, but everything’s ok.’ So we got back to working, but she was just being herself. This was my first time being in a studio with her or even being in a room with her. She’s so lit up and so live, and fucking always going. I don’t even know how to explain it. She’s so unique and smiling always. She’s just dope. Then it’s Jill Scott. I was raised on Jill Scott, not even like she’s some old school Isley Brothers, like my mom had me at 16.
Right, so that was your mom’s generation.
Yes, so my mom worshipped Erykah Badu and Jill Scott.
Who doesn’t worship Erykah Badu [laughs]?
Me too! If you think about it, this is when they were first poppin’ and out, and how like people love Kehlani, me and other dope new artists, that was my mom’s generation. That’s what I’d hear all day. When I got to be around her, I’m like, ‘What the fuck?’
The way you described Jill Scott is how I’d imagined her to be. Is that a relief when these larger-than-life artists turn out to be down-to-earth?
We work with a lot of artists and meet a lot of artists, and all that, but they have always been cool. Like Jill Scott, like Diddy — he was always who I thought he’d be, was and is. That type of shit always makes me happy. It’s always these new little up-and-comings, or the ones with a few hits, they always the ones being dickheads.
It seems like the more confident you are in your craft or success, you don’t have to be cocky.
It’s a lot about what they come up seeing and what they think is dope or ok. You need moreJAY-Z interviews out there showing how normal that muthafucka is and how he’s regular. Like the dope people like Will Smith or Jim Carrey — people who have that real success. Not that quick bullshit ass … not even that five, 10 year success. That can be gone in a day. I’m talking about real embedded success that your kid’s kids have.
People who are pillars of the culture, basically.
Yeah — they’re always the fuckin’ best people to be around and they’re always so humble and cool. I just be around regular people who aren’t in the music and stuff. They keep me leveled. I try not to be around industry people like that.
That’s kind of an interesting pivot we can take right now, like the way you were talking about artists that kind of have this quick success. Let’s talk about viral sensations and your work with Bhad Bhabie.
The stars just aligned for me. I was just at the right place at the right time, and I was able to deliver. The great Suga Free said a beautiful scripture — if you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready. I live by that. I was across the street eating in a restaurant, her manager was there, recognized me because we’d worked together before, and told me what he was working on. Luckily, I’m so humble and cool I went over there [laughs]. Some people might have heard that name and been like, ‘Ok well, I have something to do, gotta shake.’
You had to have known people were going to feel some kind of way about this girl getting an Atlantic Records deal and somebody like you to make her music. Did that cross your mind at all?
I mean, definitely, but only for like a millisecond. One, I co-wrote the record. I knew I was going to be able to help at least curate the message and the bars, and what was actually being said. For me, there are so many people out there making music that’s shitty that didn’t do a TV show, that still got hella followers, but their music sucks. Period. But they’re stars. They’re huge. How I felt is if they can do it, she can do it. In this day and age, I’ve already swallowed the pill that it’s not about talent anymore. As much as I want to be known as one of the most talented artists, knowing the group I’m in is Top 5 duos of all time, knowing that does not change the fact that Bhad Bhabie has 10 million followers and we [Audio Push] don’t. There are plenty of people with more followers than her that don’t do anything. The dope thing about Bhad Bhabie and the reason I fucked with it is because it’s all true. That’s the key I have to make clear. This isn’t a sale or me just saying it to say. I don’t have any ties with her, so I don’t have to big her up. That little girl is so real, it’s not even funny.
There are still people saying she is the most disrespectful young person they’ve ever seen. There are a lot of talented, respectful women out there that deserve a shot, too. Why do you think she deserves that over somebody who, let’s say, shows respect for their elders?
Boosie Badazz also came with a beautiful scripture. His scripture quotes, ‘You don’t know my struggle so you can’t feel my hustle.’ That’s a reality. From the outside looking in, yeah, she is the most little disrespectful girl that you think you may have ever seen. It would be easy to count on many fingers the many things she doesn’t deserve based on the outside looking in, but if we all got treated like that, we’d all be fucked. People hide behind their feelings and stuff like that. You never know what’s going on with them so you can never really judge. Them people? We can’t count how many things they don’t deserve.
You’re saying she’s putting it all out there.
All her cards are out on the table, so it’s easy to call her hand. At the end of the day, she’s a 14-year-old girl. No one really wants to just be disrespecting their parents. This shit has to come from somewhere. Like who exposed this? It gets a whole lot deeper than a 14-year-old girl saying this and that.
You were raised by three strong women, and it sounds to me like you have a lot of respect for women. When you see this girl treating her mother so poorly, what do you think?
I have a kid, right? So I’m also coming to you from a parent’s perspective because my son’s never going to talk to me like that. But I also understand the scripture from Boosie. You never know what a person has to lay down and deal with. The shit is so much deeper than her just disrespecting her mom on TV. Muthafuckas are disrespecting their parents all day. They might not be saying, ‘Fuck you bitch. I’ll do what I want and pop pills,’ but they’re taking their car without asking. There’s plenty of disrespectful things people are doing out there. People just started quoting what they wanted to and that’s why I started to fuck with her. I couldn’t dare judge her at 14.
My parents just sent me to Catholic school when I started acting out.
She didn’t have anyone to help her when she started to fall off. When she was being so fucking bad to where she couldn’t be controlled no more, the mother couldn’t do shit but put her on Dr. Phil because they were going to pay for camp. She couldn’t even afford to put her in a discipline camp. She didn’t want to put her in jail. People just don’t want to put all their business out on TV.
You’re saying it was a last resort?
That shit was 100 percent last resort. They come from the fucking slums. She’s really from the slums. She’s the real deal, hood-ass little fucking street ghetto broke-ass little girl. She’s 14. Granted, yes, she’s definitely influencing little girls that are seeing her and being influenced, but that is all based on those parents in those households. You can’t blame that on no one else. If your kid is being an asshole because they watch Bhad Bhabie then you’re not doing your job. It’s that simple. If you’re blaming your kid on another 14-year-old kid for being an asshole then you suck. You’re a shitty parent. You need to go on Dr. Phil. Put your little kid in camp.
When we have these viral sensations getting record deals and blowing up, do you think it’s sustainable?
The reason why I have confidence in her lasting is a few things. One, she already has the following. Her following isn’t a Fetty Wap following. No disrespect to Sir Fetty. It’s like a ‘I love this person’ following. I’m in love with her. She can do no wrong. Fuck it. Oh, she does music now? Bet. We love her music. She does movies? Bet. We love her movies. She got clothes? Fuck it. We’re buying her clothes. She’s at that level. No disrespect to Fetty, but people didn’t buy into Fetty Wap. They love the music. They love the way that shit sounded. But I haven’t heard about Fetty for a minute.
In all fairness, isn’t that what we’re missing? The music?
That’s what I was going to say. One of the reasons I believe she’s going to last is because she has a core following that actually follows her — not the music. Then what’s actually going to keep her with a long music career is because the music is going to be good. There’s no way around it. Her team knows what it’s doing.
What’s Bhad Bhadie like to work with?
She’s incredible to work with. She’s a visionary. She knows what she wants to say, hear and do. She’s very involved in the music. It’s not like she doesn’t do shit. She goes in. Right now, we’re just working on more records, more dope shit. She put out some other joint that I wasn’t involved in, but they’re fire. I just want to create more hits for her and tell her story so she can keep influencing and hopefully turn that negative shit around. She be posting all types of positive shit, but no one talks about that.