With Prozak’s release of We All Fall Down came the release of what is easily one of the most relatable songs ever.
“Audio Barricade” is a testament to all of us who have ever used music to block out the negative, all of us who have used music as our escape and all of us who have relied on music for light.
We got a chance to speak to Prozak about the roots of this poignant track and what part collaborating with Seven played into it.
Tell me what this song is about and what it means to you.
For “Audio Barricade” I was listening to the beat, and drifting away into thought a little bit. I just thought I had to kind of pay respect to music. When I write songs I typically tend to think really, really deep and I kind of get consumed with what I’m talking about or kind of worm-holing into all these other things. So I wanted to pay respect to music and the fact that music is such a valuable thing to all of us. All of us love it: the fans, the artists, the label, the company, even the distributors. The whole fucking thing is from music, that’s where it all starts. So I wanted to pay respect to it in my own way.
I’m definitely not trying to be one of those people “poor me, wah wah wah,” but I had a pretty rough upbringing and music was a huge barricade for me from doing shit that I’m glad I didn’t do now, whether it’s self-destructive type of things or whatever. Music can get you through so much. Music can motivate you to change your life for the better, it can comfort people. For a lot of people all they have is music, and for a lot of points in my life, I was one of those people. It still helps me today.
It’s funny, a lot of times I’ll get consumed with writing and recording and doing my movie stuff and shooting and I kind of get into this rut where I start getting angry or kind of get bitter in some weird way – I can’t really explain it. At one point it dawned on me that I didn’t really remember the last time that I listened to music, music that I like and that I am a fan of. So I thought about it and I went on a little binge and spent a couple hundred bucks on iTunes, and sure enough I started jamming some shit and all of a sudden everything just got a lot better. It made me realized the power of music. I know that sounds kind of weird, like how would you forget, but sometimes you get caught up and you’re so busy in what you do that you don’t really have time to do stuff you used to do. But the power of music is amazing on so many levels: It inspires people, it saves people, it motivates people, and the list goes on. When life gets you down, turn it up and watch it get better.
Tell me about a lot of your fans. The fans on the label all turn to your music to get them through, and to provide a barricade for some bullshit and like you said, for some of them all they have is music. Tell me about some of the things that you’ve heard from these fans.
I hear it every night, I hear it a lot, as well as messages on Facebook and people on Twitter. I hear a lot from people about how they say that my music has saved their life, stopped them from suicide or gotten them off drugs – I’ve heard that many times and all of that stuff is a huge honor. I owe it to the fact that I’ve been consciously making music that has more positivity into it. Four or five years ago I just decided that that was my calling, and I don’t care about what sells and what’s popular and I don’t care about fitting in. For that matter, I don’t give a fuck about any of it. I just want to make music that I feel good about and music that I’m proud of and music that I’ll be proud to leave behind and stuff that’s going to help people in many different ways. Whether it’s music they can relate to, music that tells them that life always gets better, things are never as bad as they seem and you can always make a change, or bringing awareness to certain issues that I feel are important and that I need to get out there. But that’s just me, though, that’s kind of what I do. Like “Million Miles Away”, “Until Then”, “Audio Barricade”, “Fading Away”, or “Good Enough” the list goes on.
It doesn’t take a genius to look at me and see that this guy is not trying to get on XXL Magazine, this dude doesn’t care about being on MTV. I don’t care about appearance, I don’t want to be anybody’s idol – I’m not trying to be any of that shit. I’m not trying to be the sex symbol. I’m making music, bro, music for my soul, for people out there, putting out vibrations to those that get it, for those that it’s going to help, and that’s what’s up. I understand that it’s an industry and it’s a business to a lot of people, but to me it’s not. At the same time, I seem to be one of the highest selling artists in my camp, so I can dig it. I’m humbled by it and I’m proud that somebody can put out positivity and messages like this and still sell a lot of records. And that gives me a lot of hope, because if people were rejecting these messages then that just tells me that the world is in a worse spot than I thought it was. But it’s not.
Is there any amount of money or any kind of gimmick that would cause you to compromise making music that you can feel honest and decent about?
Honestly, no, not at all. And I can prove that a lot. I tour a lot, I do a lot of shows, I know what sells. I’m the motherfucker that’s in the crowd from doors open to doors close with the exception of my time on the stage. I shake every hand, I sign every autograph, I listen to every person that comes up and wants to speak to me. My time is their time, I give them all of my time. Seven hours a day, exclusively out in the crowd at their disposal – regardless of anything else I may need or not need to do that night, whether it be we haven’t eaten yet, or have some calls to make, or have some other things to tend to. I look at it like I’m there to represent myself and my music and I owe it to these people that have all paid money to come to this show, even if I’m opening or not.
I know what sells, and I know what’s more trendy and I know what, overall, I could do to reach further to the crowds. And I just mean from a flow standpoint or perhaps subject matter standpoint or just talking about getting fucked up and girls and whatever else. Because at the end of the day, I’m very aware that music is entertainment and to a lot of people they look at what I do as too serious a dose of reality. And they’re kind of like, “Hey man, I just got out of work, it’s Friday, I got paid, I’m at a show” or, “I’m gonna go home and bump some music and have some drinks. I’m not trying to hear about the world is fucked up and global warming and over population.” And I understand that, that just means those are the people my music does not gravitate to, and I respect that. But, at the same time, the stuff that I talk about, that’s what I’m about, so that’s what my passion is. Therefore, I’m catering to people who are more like me, so that’s kind of where I’m gonna stay.
At the same time, this is real. Like I said, I realized a few years back I had a calling to get certain messages out there that I really felt I had to get out there. Wrapping up We All Fall Down, I feel like I paid my dues with those messages and those things that I felt a calling to get out there. That being said, I don’t know where the next record is going to go, but it’s going to drift away from Paranormal and drift away from We All Fall Down and I’m going to be able to kind of wipe the palette of these types of subjects and move on to the next things. It’s just something I felt like I had to do was to put out these lyrics and these warnings and thoughts and everything. It’s too crazy to even really go into why I felt like I needed to do that, but I did, and I got out there what I needed to, so I’m excited to go to the next level of my career musically. But I will say that the next record is going to just be pretty much continuous energy. Out of the darkness and into something else. I can’t wait.
At least you can look back and you won’t have to tell yourself “I wish I would have said something.” You were talking about double time flow before, you put some double time on this one. Obviously the beat lent itself to that flow, but how was it to chop it up a bit? Was it fun for you?
Regardless of what some critics might think, I do have that ability. To be dead honest with you, and I’m not sure how people will take this, but I find it vastly easier to rap faster than it is to rap slower, by far. Because when you’re going slower, your lyrics are straight out front, you’re not blending it in with the beat. When you’re rapping fast as a motherfucker, there’s a cadence and a pattern, and the pattern and the cadence is dope and the beat lends itself to it and it all comes together and you really don’t have to be rapping about some shit that really has any lyrical substance. And I hear it all the time where people are tripping out over so and so or so and so just popped in and put out a mixtape down south, or wherever they may be from and it’s like watching fireworks. People love the energy and the bang and the boom, but you don’t have that luxury when you’re rhyming slower and you’re putting yourself up front. At that point, your words gotta carry you, not your pattern. So I find that rapping faster is easier, but I do enjoy it. I think there’s a time and a place for it, in certain songs that words are a necessary tool in the cache. Will there be more of that on my next record? Yeah, absolutely. Like I said, I feel like I went through the trenches of the dark parts of these messages and these things and these times that we’ve had and it got out what I needed to as an artist and a person. After this it’s time to go into the next phase, and I see the next phase being very hard-hitting music. And by hard I don’t necessarily mean rock and metal, but hard-hitting, non-stop energy. I think that’s the perfect dichotomy response to ‘We All Fall Down’.
Tell me about the production of “Audio Barricade” and how it made you feel when you heard it.
When I heard the track, all I can say is my surroundings were no longer there. I was completely engulfed in this beat. It’s beautiful, modest, ambient, dreamy and then all of a sudden, when the hook comes in it almost takes you into a whole different direction. I don’t know, it’s incredible.
Seven never ceases to amaze me with the stuff he does. You never think you’re gonna be surprised again by Seven. It’s like how many songs, how many years can somebody continuously impress you? Typically you would get to a point where it’s like yeah, yeah, Seven’s dope we all know it, cool, but he just keeps coming at you with something else. The dude’s a prodigy. I’m not just saying that because he’s part of Strange or he worked on my record, I just can’t even understand how this dude keeps getting better, it’s fucking scary for real. I mean, what’s he gonna sound like in three more years? Absolutely amazing. I’m so proud of Strange Music for finding this guy and making him part of Strange. “Bravo” is all I can say. What a wonderful twist of fate that Seven and Strange Music came together, because can anybody imagine it any other way?
And you didn’t tell him to make you a beat like this or that, he just made it and gave it to you?
That’s not actually all the way the case. I did tell him that I needed something along the lines of that tempo, and I spit him some lyrics to show him the speed it was at, and Seven just, of course, took the bull by the horns and crushed it. One thing I would like people to know is that for ‘We All Fall Down’ the production, the beats were exclusively made for the project – period. The only amount of beats that were made are the amount of tracks that you hear. It wasn’t like twenty or thirty tracks were submitted, each song had a topic, a subject, a conversation and then went into production mode. That’s how much Seven cared about this project, it truly was a concept record.
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