Oktane and Price, the rap/R&B duo signed to Hit-Boy’s HS87 label under Interscope as Audio Push, rose out of seemingly nowhere in 2013 with their release of Come As You Are, an ambitious and classically West Coast produced game pauser of a mixtape. When I speak of Come As You Are, it might be a bit more highly than the average review. That release is probably one of my favorite rap albums of the last 10 years, and it deserves more attention and acclaim than it was given; “Shine” will forever be one of my favorite rap tracks of all time.
A year and a bit later, armed with Hit-Boy once again, Oktane and Price return with The Good Vibe Tribe, a more downtempo, chiller style of West Coast production than the sleakness of Come As You Are. It’s still smooth though, especially with tracks like “Mary Jane,” and the transition into “SixtyOneImpala.” One of my favorite things about Audio Pus is their ability to fuse rap & R&B so seamlessly. Besides the genius of Hit-Boy, who seems to never do wrong, with his classic horns and portamento’d synths, Audio Push match his production with their incredible flow control, song entrances, and amazingly catchy hooks.
Opening up with a bonfire scene and a man telling them to gather round the fire, reminiscent of the skits revolving around Kendrick Lamar’s Section.80, maybe even directly sampling the same bonfire samples, they move into the track, “Bonfire (feat. G-Eazy),” and really set the mood for the rest of the record. Sounding like a mix of Outkast’s “Crumblin’ Erb” and “Skew it on the Bar-B,” The Good Vibe Tribe is all about, to put it bluntly, “good vibes,” freestyles around the fire, hanging out, and just enjoying rapping.
Where the album goes awry though is in its second half, with tracks like, “Reset,” “B.O.W. Down,” “Sweep,” and “Heavy,” which all appear in order, one after the other, and kind of bring down the “good vibes” of the record. These four tracks are way more hard-hitting, harder even then “Rowdy-A” off of Come As You Are, and are way more club trap hits then they are groovin’-Outkast-like Good Vibe Tribe tracks of the Audio Push that I really enjoy. And honestly I don’t really care for those four tracks. The choruses aren’t as catchy, and there isn’t really anything said that would at least have me argue for their wordplay.
However, immediately after, the final 4 tracks return to the good vibes of the beginning half, and put me back in my chill mood, believing in Audio Push again. Overall, while it might not be the next Come As You Are, except possibly for the outstanding “Mary Jane / SixtyOneImpala,” The Good Vibe Tribe includes enough solid jams for me to still stand completely behind how huge Audio Push could be.
Listen via Datpiff here.