The Stone Junction (2016)
Rap / Hip-Hop
Interscope / Hits Since ’87
Oktane and Price of hip-hop outfit Audio Push have been around for a while now, a long while. They’ve been making music since the days when MySpace was cool. Time doesn’t always amount to major commercial success though. Audio Push have been putting out mixtapes as their main source of music, with eleven free releases under their belt. When your releasing free music, money usually isn’t at a premium. After all these years, they have finally decided to change things up with their twelfth release, The Stone Junction, their first record that is being sold commercially. It’s not necessarily an EP that is going to blow your socks off, but it’s a solid release that demonstrates the skill that the hip-hop duo have been showing off for years.
The Stone Junction has a seven song track list featuring production from the likes of Slade Da Monsta, Rey Reel, Izze the Producer, and Ducko Mcfli. You probably haven’t heard these names before but that’s okay, because they do a pretty good job with the production on the album. Audio Push have tackled a diverse set of sounds over the years, ranging from bass-bouncing hip-hop to sensual R&B. This might not be the most marketable trait to have as a rap group, but it shows off their impressive range. This signature of range comes through once again on their first studio album.
The first cut off the project, “BBQ Spot,” has a nice beat to it, thanks to some Slade Da Monsta production, and features two great verses from both Oktane and Price. The two have a flow that is characteristically rooted in a Californian sound. There’s also “Servin,” the first single that was released off the record. The song features BMac the Queen and contains feelings of urgency, touting their experience in the rap game while still rapping, “I feel like it’s me versus everybody.” When you’ve been around for almost ten years but have no name recognition, things tend to feel this way.
Next on the list are “Vamanos” and “Hard,” arguably the two best tracks off the record. “Vamanos” features Atlanta-based Mexican-American rapper Kap G and a trap influenced beat from Izze the Producer, who has some other credits on the album. The song has a unique vibe with some great verses all around. Then there’s “Hard,” which distinguishes itself from the rest due to its unique sound. The song starts out with some…well, “hard” bass bumps and then transitions to some sweet-sounding piano melodies around the two-minute mark. The song goes from bravado to emotional just like that. It’s a little unexpected but it sounds great in the end.
Towards the end there are a couple of missteps. “Vibed Up Shawty” contains a heavy use of 808s (which isn’t where the track falters) and hearkens back to their first major release, “Teach Me How to Jerk.” Unfortunately, the song gets a little too repetitive and wears its welcome after only a minute in. There’s also “Same,” featuring rapper Jace. The song features some cool sounds from Ducko Mcfli, but the raps fell a little flat and sounded a little garbled at times. It wasn’t a great way to end an album.
There’s still a lot to like about The Stone Junction. They’re a wide array of sounds, which has become an Audio Push trademark over the years. This is also their first official studio album, so perhaps this release will propel them into a brighter spotlight. The record has some hiccups here and there and it’s not an album that necessarily can be considered mainstream, but Oktane and Price’s experience comes through tried and true.