By: Todd “DG” Davis
Multi-faceted rapper-songwriter-producer, PRICE, who hails from the Southern California region of the Inland Empire, is back with his latest / third single, “Cream Of Wheat,” featuring R&B songstress Alex Vaughn, which follows closely on the heels of his second entry, “Cuzo,” of course both selections courtesy of his brand new collection, C.I.T.Y. (Caught In The Youth) [CLRD. ENT. / Rostrum Records].
Let’s hop right into this single, “CUZO” — Tell me about this particular track; how did it come to fruition?
The Album being C.I.T.Y. is named after my cousin, RIP Big City, so naturally you know, it felt only right making a song “CUZO” in dedication of my cuzo. I just have such a huge family full of so many cousins and I wanted to take a moment in my creative process to highlight them. I have so many songs about my cousins or best friends that have passed away, but I wanted to make a track for my cousins and my realest ones that are still alive and doing great things. That’s where “CUZO” came into play.
“CUZO” arrives courtesy of your brand new album, C.I.T.Y. (Caught In The Youth) — Conceptually, what does this title represent both to and for you?
Caught in The Youth represents the aspect of being present. When you are caught in the youth that you lived in the past, sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad, to hold onto things from your youth. What really helped me with the transition after my cousin, City, passed was me being present, and not caught in the youth anymore. I wanted the album to embody that. It’s a moment I am dedicating to my cousin, but it’s also me finally, fully healing from his transition.
What particular string of events actually led to your current signing to / with ROSTRUM RECORDS?
My manager, Kenny Hamilton, had a great relationship with the team over there, from Erika (Montes) to Edith (Bo). I had already known Benjy (Grinberg) who started Rostrum Records. Kenny had the idea to take a meeting with them, as soon as we did they truly understood my vision, my goals, my mission in music.
As a lyricist, when you sit down to pen your rhymes where do you draw inspiration from?
I pull my inspiration from multiple different sources. It varies with each experience. Sometimes it may be from some past experiences I can bring to light, it might be how I’m currently feeling, how a beat is making me feel, what I did that day. It really just depends on what I am speaking on, what the subject matter is about. Most times that will be where inspiration is pulled from.
Reflecting, tell me your whole inception into music — When did you first become interested in it? And, how did it all begin for Larry Jacks?
With music – I first became interested in music when I was 7 years old. There were about 20 girls in my living room with my girl cousins, all crowding the living room and TV. When I finally made it through those girls to see what they were watching, they were watching Usher’s “Nice and Slow” music video, some of them screaming and even crying, it was crazy. At that moment I knew that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to be on TV, I wanted to make music, I wanted to make people feel like that. As a teenager I was rapping with my best friends, creating groups together, and we were able to do great things. That’s really where it stemmed from.
Now you’re from the Inland Empire, in Southern CA, correct? So growing up in the I.E., who all did / do you consider to be your strongest musical influences?
Definitely from the I.E., Southern California – one hour east of Los Angeles. My biggest musical influences growing up varied from Andre 3000, Suga Free, Dre, Nas, Eminem, Sade, Lauryn Hill, Jay-Z, Linkin Park, Blink-182, Earth, Wind & Fire. I love music for real. I was heavy on R&B, like Donell Jones. I just have so many, I’m like a jukebox when it comes to music and what inspires me.
In having said that, how do you classify your overall sound and / or style?
For my sound and style, I believe it is ghetto gospel. I wanna bring people to the light when they listen to my music and my sound. I love gospel chords, I love the way gospel music makes you feel, but I’m from the ghetto – I saw someone get killed when I was 15 years old. I sold drugs to pay for prom and graduation, I had a different experience. But I’ve also grown to a place where I feed the homeless now twice a week, you know, I do a lot of different things that embody bringing people to the light. If I had to classify my sound as anything it would be ghetto gospel. Quality ghetto gospel rap, ya dig?
Where does your moniker originally derive from?
The name PRICE was given to me from a homie in high school when I was 15. His name was Gonzo. He really called me PRICETAG ’cause he said everything I was wearing was always fresh, I always had on the new pieces. It was initially PRICETAG, but then eventually we dropped the tag and ran with PRICE. It’s been history ever since with me.
Switching gears here, what exactly do you want people to get from your music?
I want people to be helped or healed by my music. I want people to be inspired to feel good, you know? I remember listening to songs like “Everything” by Mary J. Blige or “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” by Lauryn Hill – certain songs that just make you feel good. That’s what I want people to get when they listen to my music. I want them to feel like when they are playing it, they can just escape.
If you could collaborate with any one artist, living or dead, who would it be and why?
I would collab with Andre 3000 or Lauryn Hill. Just because I love their music so much, their sound, their textures. Andre is one of my favorite rappers, I love his ability to put words together. Lauryn’s voice, texture, and tone is unmatched. Those are dream features. And, Sade.
If you could play any venue in the world, which one would you choose and why?
I would say Madison Square Garden just because it’s so legendary. Growing up you always heard about people selling out the garden. That’s definitely a goal of mine.
On a more serious note, are you happy with the current state of Hip Hop?
As far as the current state of Hip Hop, I can’t say I am happy or unhappy. It is what it is. Music is constantly evolving. As much as I think there is a lack of authenticity, subject matter, and originality, there are also really dope artists that are making what is true to them. Free thinking in their music. They are able to take care of their families and change the trajectory of their families lives through the music, so I love that. In a perfect world I’d love there to be balance. It needs to come back to a place where a person rapping about positive things will get the same shot, same look, appreciation, love, sales and streams, and notoriety as someone rapping about killing and poisoning our people. I’m just in the middle when it comes to the state of Hip Hop right now. I’m doing what I can to be the change I want to see.
What do you feel has and will continue to be the key to your longevity?
I’ve been saying it a lot lately, I had an epiphany that I realized that what’s helping my longevity is taking the stairs. I believe that when you rush and rise to the top really fast and take the elevator to the top. You know, like these people who just started rapping a year ago or 7 months ago, and have this rapid success. Just as fast as they go up that elevator, is how fast they go down. With me, I’m taking each step and each stair up towards my journey to the top. And so when it is time for me to decline, it’s going to be a lot harder because I then have to take each step down. When you take the stairs you can’t just jump down. So the same way to take each step up, you gotta take each step down. It’s going to be a process and journey for that, so that’s what I believe helps my longevity. I’m not cutting corners. I’m really going through the process to be as great as I can be.
Do you have any other outside / additional (future) aspirations, maybe even completely away from music?
I want to do more public speaking. I love business so any and everything that has to do with progressive business and entrepreneurship, but I really can’t wait to do more public speaking. I already wrote a book, so, you know, just getting more into my author bag. My ultimate aspiration is to just be as bright of a light as I can be in the world. Making sure I am walking along and aligned with what God has called me to do.
To date, what has been your biggest career moment(s), at least thus far anyway?
One big moment was the tour I just wrapped with KOTA the Friend. Being able to stand alone on stage and move the people on stage with my message and my energy. Definitely the KOTA Tour. Getting plaques for working with Travis Scott and Brandy. Those were huge moments as well. I’m a person that celebrates the small wins and big wins, every win is a win to me. I’m thankful for every moment of my career thus far.
What’s an average day like for you?
An average day for me is waking up, praying, meditating, potentially reading, getting a little workout in, checking in with my sons, talking to their mothers about something random going on in the kids’ lives, putting in my parlays with sports picks, and most likely going to the studio and creating. On average, that’s how my day goes.
Please discuss how you interact with and respond to fans…
I love talking to my supporters. Most times it’s through social media. Anytime they show me love or reach out I am giving the love back ’cause they don’t have to be doing that. But they do because they support and love what I am doing. I am often always tapping in with the fans through DMs, COMMENTS, making sure they get that love back that they are giving to me.
What is your favorite part about this line of work? Your least favorite? And, why?
My favorite part about being an artist has to be performing. I love being on stage, I love the experience of energy exchange, exchanging that currency with the people. My least favorite is probably shooting music videos. It’s so time consuming and drawn out sometimes. It’ll be like a ten hour shoot, you are waiting around for 3 hours for them to reset cameras and lights. I can’t stand it, but it’s part of the vibes so I do enjoy it…but it’s my least favorite for sure.
What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Make sure you are intentional and clear on the fact that you only truly lose when you quit. If you continue to keep going and sharpening your sword, adjusting your wheel in the race, switching your stride up a bit, just adjusting, you are going to eventually figure it out for yourself. Embrace that we are all one of one. Me, you know, I got a raspy voice, I got this story that I have that is one of one, and so I had to really learn to just tell my story, my way, from my position. That’s what makes me unique.
Looking ahead, say five or maybe even ten years from now, where do you see yourself?
I do my best to not even try to do that. That is how anxiety and depression is caused by just not being present. Looking too forward in the future, looking too backwards in the past. If I had to say, I see myself being happy and at peace. More loving. Better at making music, better at being a dad, and happy. The sky is limit. I might be living on the moon in ten years for all I know. There are no limits.
As for the immediate, what’s next for you, Price?
Dropping this album and watching people enjoy it, connect to it, be helped and healed by it, inspired by it. A tour is definitely in the works. Writing another book that’s actually Generational Cures: The C.I.T.Y. Edition. Continuing to get better at music and as a person.
Is there anything I left out or just plain forgot to mention?
Nope. These questions were pretty dope for sure.
Lastly, any “parting” words for our readers?
I want everybody and anybody who reads this to just know that everybody on this earth – no matter what race, place, religion, space that your based out of it – all of us have generational curses in our family, and the key is to continue to do what you can to be a generational cure. I encourage everyone to be the best cures they can be to themselves and their families. Once everyone does that with intention, the world will be a better place. I appreciate y’all vibes and energy. Generational Cures, we here, let’s get it!