“Let’s meet between the gender, now wouldn’t that be awesome?” -Duckwrth, on Boy
Photo by: Jack McKain
Promptly following the release of Around The World, a new track off his upcoming An Extra Uugly Mixtape (ETA mid-September), Duckwrth offered up another new joint, Boy (a song that shares its name with his new clothing line, btw). Within the track, he confronts traditional gender roles: “Cuz they never seen a boy plant flowers on a hill, but you would never judge, and therefore you are real.” Real recognize real.
When @duckwrth announced the new track via Instagram in late June, he had this to say with the post: “THIS SONG IS FOR the rebels, the tomboys, the emotional dudes, the skater girls, the ones who say FUCK Social Constructs. This is for you.”
Symbolizing his own social movement, Duckwrth has constructed a complex sound combining styles and genres cooperating together in a new world to bring some real thought-provoking philosophy to the scene. Duckwrth describes his music as, “Funk Wave rooted in hip hop, vocals with a certain swing to it.”
I’m not really in the business of making predictions, but I’ll be damned if Duckwrth is not the next big thing. We’re not just talking about music either. Combining elements of Andre 3000 hip-hop style with punk, to funk with gospel, or electronica meets Jimi-esque rock and roll this is rhythm and blues meets metal and dance to not only the beat of your own drum but the beat of your own social movement.
Combining forces, equalizing, and uniting in today’s socio-political day and age is what it’s all about for those in the know, and Duckwrth’s music stands as a vehicle for his philosophy on so-called social constructs. “It’s pretty simple. Instead of judging people on stupid shit, take the time out to be more advanced. Update your iOS. It’s twentyfuckingseventeen. Technology advances faster than us. That’s a problem. We’re long overdue for evolution. Police brutality, racism? We can’t advance if we’re stuck on skin color.” The words might as well be etched in a New Generation Manifesto, because when Duckwrth hits Lollapalooza on the BMI stage Sunday, festival-goers are in for an audio onslaught on par with the ideals of a generation chomping at the bit for a changing of the guard.
via Duckwrth.com: “PEACE. The following visual piece you’re about to witness was made with one intention, to make you move. DANCING wasn’t made for one gender, sexual orientation, or musical preference, it was made for everyone. So when the BS starts to swarm your life, just state these two words: “I’M DEAD” – Dead to the negativity. FREE YOURSELF. And above all else, dance mutha funkah, dance. Enjoy.”
“Our generation can find a way, better solutions for handling shit.”
“People are waking up, excited for what’s going to happen. The younger generation is challenging old heads who’ve had power for so long. Answers are so simple, and our generation can find a way, better solutions for handling shit. More eco-friendly, more human-friendly. It sounds like hippie shit, but it won’t be hippie shit when it’s two hundred degrees. Don’t be a Neanderthal. Don’t be a caveman.”
If today’s musical climate is any indication, it has become increasingly obvious that true connoisseurs have embraced the notion to think outside one’s immediate sphere. Pop the bubble. Then pop the bubbly in celebration of what Duckwrth describes as, “creating beyond our experience.” These types of ideologies are alive and well, and they certainly represent what we’re capable of when working together and optimizing our output. The Uu in Uugly represents more than simply a word thrown in a 180° transformation. When asked to elaborate on the meaning of the double-U, Duckwrth endearingly reveals that, “The album is more about you than it is about me.”
Photo by: Jack McKain
The artist’s transformation of a word with negative connotation flipped into a positive, triumphant light represents our ability to exceed expectations, go furthur, and begin to understand where we can go when we put our minds to it. For real. Duckwrth is a prime example of defeating the disparity on the road from South Central to stardom.
“Black people have been oppressed. It’s an ongoing pattern, but the fact that we can end up on Forbes is a good story to tell. The fact that we can leave these areas and end up in corporate settings and be able to earn six figures, that’s crazy. People love the true story and love to glorify the underdog. It’s the new American dream.”
The Uugly mentality of overcoming odds to achieve success is part of what makes the new American dream so appealing. Visionaries in fields across the board have been met with opposition, but their endurance and their commitment to their own taste and tenacity is what brought their dreams to fruition. “Get fuckin’ Uugly. Go HAM. Geniuses, musicians, (leaders in) technology had to get Uugly and unconventional because people doubted them. Steve Jobs got a little bit Uugly.”
To get a sense of where Duckwrth stands on the Community over Competition debate, I asked him which was more important, and he responded in a way that only he could: “Both. Community and competition. Love is the most important thing at the end of the day, but competition because I still want niggas to know that I’ll eat a bar. It’s a challenge when I hear some fire: like, fuck. Gotta bar up. I’ll eat the whole album. It pushes you. Competition is healthy.” Even when we got to the topic of Lollapalooza this weekend, the competitive streak is alive and well: “We’re making sure our shit is on point. We’re going to fuck up everybody else’s performance. We’ll eat up everybody. Everybody gets murked.”
Photo by: Jack McKain
So there you have it: his performance on the BMI stage Sunday at 1:10pm promises to be one that will be talked about in Lollapalooza-lore for years to come when it’s all said and done, with Duckwrth describing what’s to come: “It’s next level on (unreleased) Wake Up: arena rock-Queen-Black Sabbath and (another unreleased) Hello God gets hella big. We’re about to hit it outta left. Some I’m Uugly and testing new shit.”
Having gone down the existential rabbit hole a bit, the time to end our conversation approached when I asked Duckwrth if music can save the world. His response came without hesitation: “Without a shadow of a doubt. Music is a language everybody can speak. Anybody can speak music. We’re in the iPod generation, (where genres) were separated before but that’s been eliminated and it brought us all together…fuck yeah, music.”
“Find better ways to handle our issues.”
What type of world, exactly, needs saving? One where war seems to be the solution to so much, the military industrial complex overwhelming our ability to rationally communicate and appreciate each other while negating our individualism, for starters. Duckwrth understands this, and elaborates when I ask him an admittedly loaded question: At the end of 100 Days, you get really personal on the topic of pain while expressing a message of hope. If you could say one thing to America, what would it be? And then, if you could say one thing to the rest of the world in the name of America, what would that be? He stresses the importance of “the human experience, different backgrounds, different religions, and cultures. I love textures and colors and everything the world provides. Having more than what you need, the need for greed, going to war, bombing the fuck outta people is really like, slow. Again, it’s Neanderthalish, like monkeys bashing each other over the head with a stick. Is that really the best way to handle the issue? Find better ways to handle our issues. Get to a solution. Slitting someone’s throat at school if your shoes get stepped on is extra. Is this what we want to teach kids? You’re making choices that affect the world, 10-year olds. Update the iOS.”
On the topic of progress, however, Duckwrth astutely points out that, “the new Spiderman cast is lit! Different things like that show advancement when it comes to the disposable black people pattern in Hollywood. We can kind of kick it and not have to die in movies.” If Spiderman, a staple for any comic book fan, can progress since our ’90s youths to show a diverse cast and represent many backgrounds, it just goes to show you of what the entertainment industry is capable.
Duckwrth’s affinity for late-’90s and early-’00s culture is not met without musical nostalgia though: “There was more appreciation for physical copies of albums with booklets that we would sit with longer. Today is more demanding of less is more. Fly or Die by N.E.R.D. was my entire second half of high school!” That album is fitting in many ways, if you take these lyrics from Pharell on Drill Sergeant, they could easily apply to Duckwrth today: “No gangster or no thug. I am just being me.” Coming out of South Central, Los Angeles to make it is no simple task, and Duckwrth acknowledges the life he’s created for himself beautifully: “Experiment. Take chances. Look beyond and care beyond your own existence. Care about the world and the world will care about you. I get to travel the world, a kid from South Central. I got a little bit Uugly.”
Photo by: Jack McKain
Duckwrth appears at Lollapalooza on Sunday, August 6th at 1:10pm on the
BMI stage. Do not miss out…