Prior to listening to this album, I can’t profess to have heard much of Audio Push. In fact my only real experiences of their songs were “Grindin’My Whole Life” and “The Cypher” as part of HS-87. The former, I liked the chorus and beat, not the verses but I thought the cypher was cool. Still couldn’t really say anything about their sound so whatever I was about to listen to was going to be unexpected for me. But what I did know, is that the West Coast has been the pinnacle of music in the last couple years, with albums like Kendrick Lamar’s TPAB, Jay Rock’s 90059, Vince Staples’ Summertime 06 and YG’s Still Brazy to name but a few.
This album definitely kicks off in the vain of those albums, the first two tracks “Ghetto Fabulous Filtered Water” and “Leftside” are great songs. One is a dedication to both these rappers mothers and goes into details about the circumstances under which they entered the rap industry. The other is an ode to the West Coast, with a little Latin influence on the horns that makes it sounds like real West Coast Rider Music. Audio Push aren’t writing complex metaphors and amazing double entendres like some of their contemporaries however in these two tracks their flow and delivery work.
However, after this song, the album begins to lose its West Coast identity and adopts a sound more akin to Drake’s latest release, Views. It sounds just a bland and uninteresting as that album did at times and for the life of me I can’t figure out why it changed. Or maybe I’m just not familiar enough with their sound. Either way I do not like this.
“Control Us” and “Spread Love” sound like Drake leftovers, and by leftovers I mean the type of songs that PartyNextDoor and Quentin Miller didn’t write for him. Skip. “Heaven Yea” is kind of interesting, but doesn’t really have a kick to it, compared to similar sounding songs such as Vic Mensa’s “Down On My Luck”. Hesitantly Skip. “Praise You” made me sad as it really sounds like a Musiq Soulchild song that was remixed by the duo. They went full RnB on this track. You never go full RnB. I stayed only for the singing elements of this song, the verses sounded like imitations of Chance The Rapper, without the level of delivery that makes him so encapsulating. Despite this, I think they got the sound right on “Black Man”, the flows really work over the smooth production without sounding redundant and the lyrics themselves are interesting (touching on popular political issues for the wider Black Community, I feel as though Black Canadians and Black Brits can relate to many of the sentiments expressed). Overall a very interesting song and one that I personal heavily vibed to.
“Play Action” is a return to form and I would say on this album, this style might very well be their pocket. They sound natural, more confident and at ease with the flow of the beat. “Throw Back II” recaptures the West Coast sounds that I liked in the first two tracks. A fun track that really sounds like a house party banger, it’s definitely one of my favourites from this album and the one I return to most after “Leftside”.
Despite me not liking the sound of some of the songs on this album, don’t get me wrong. From a lyrical standpoint, at no point does the quality of the rappers’ verses dip throughout, it’s just the way they sound over the beats. That’s down to personal taste, if you like Views you’ll probably like those songs, they’re really not bad.I just found them to be quite boring. By and large this a decent album, it’s got a little something for everyone, and although it kind of sounds like a hodgepodge of sounds, so is California, so I guess it’s fitting of the title.
Verdict on Audio Push – Not a bad listen, there’s a few songs I definitely come back to, and some others that I find very skippable. Decent overall.