How to be Bold and Straight Up UUGLY With Duckwrth

Tomorrow’s the day: LA-born rapper Duckwrth will be dropping his project, an XTRA UUGLY Mixtape, on November 3 right before his NYC double performance at Irving Plaza with Rich Chigga on November 5. Are you ready?

With an XTRA UUGLY Mixtape, the polymathic artist is crafting a gallery of sounds backed up by bold visuals. Above everything, he isn’t afraid to be fluid in his craft and true to himself. He sits somewhere in between a bounce of funk and a burst of colors. He keeps his heart safely pinned to his sleeve and is bold enough to be himself. If life imitates art, then Duckwrth’s life is XXTRA UUGLY.

This whole joint is hot, what inspired it?  

I want to treat it as a mixtape. It should give a clue into the different genres that inspire me. It’s switching from different areas of music whether that be classical, soul, funk, hip-hop and 80’s ballad type-shit. I’m doing the whole spectrum, but being able to turn that into one continuous fluid project.

Well “MICHUUL” has this MJ/Pharrel vibe that’s so different from the rest of the mixtape. How do you balance all of these genres and flavors?  

All the elements make up who I am, essentially. For me, I try my best to take those influences, those colors and textures, and put them on blast. Sometimes, I think, that is the hardest part. Giving people a clue into my inspiration, but it really is just me.

Based of off who are you now, how have you developed since NOWHERE?

It already there in NOWHERE. I guess with NOWHERE I was in an angrier place. I was doing protests and there was just a lot of political type bullshit that was happening. My mind was very much in that area. It was one whole activist-type project, but having fun with it.

But for these last two projects, I’ve been leaning more towards adding funk and dance to it. I figured that if you preach to people and if you try to push something down their throat then they’re not really gonna digest it. So the best way to get people out to these tense areas is to make them dance. That’s why you keep it fast, keep it moving and that brings the tension down. I feel like that’s what’s gonna really help with people, politically, yanno? Pull the anxiety down a bit. Dance a little bit.

I moved to LA and I found a lot of musicians that I liked worked with, new musicians. I just try to create that sound where people just want to move.

And when you’re creating do you have a special process that you go through to create all that energy for your sound?

Well first, it’s just living. A lot of it is from my lifestyle, the things I go through and the interactions I have with people. As far as process goes, it’s really just walking in with a producer or one of the homies or something like that. I mean, you could just be sitting and eating chicken or some shit. Even if it’s just dating, things just come up out of nowhere and I go to the studio to record it. I’ll just be in the studio and someone throws on a chord progression or a whole melody.

It’s really just building from scratch— trusting yourself and the art that you work with to make this cool sound. Other than that, it’s nothing really crazy. [Laughs] I don’t like start candles or like do my hair, yanno?

[Laughs] No special rituals, eh? I actually really appreciate how much the process is a part of you just living and being bombastic. I also get that Andre 3000 vibe.

I always get that. People always say that and he’s a cool guy. I have yet to meet him, I hope I will.

Do you not like it when people compare you to Andre?

Nah nah nah, it’s all good. The first hip hop album I listened to was OutKast. I feel like the first people you listen to kind of taught you about hip-hop in a certain way. I know I pulled from that. I know I pull a lot from 90’s and just southern hip-hop in general. They just have a certain twang, a certain flow about them.

And the West Coast too, for sure! The west coast is like G-funk. G-funk is just one step away from funk. I just like all that. The reason I pull from funk a lot is because it has this delay to it. Usual music is very much on the 1-2-3-4, but funk is just a little bit behind it. It kinda creates that slump. It makes your shoulders move a little bit differently, there’s a certain swing to it.

I love that! I don’t know what it is, but that delay makes the payoff so good when it hits [Laughs]

It’s the UUGLY, man [Laughs]

Which song are you most proud of on the mixtape?

Yanno, I would say between “THROWYOASS” and “WAKE UP”. They’re both very intricate songs for bridges and breakdowns, If you were to create visual for it it’d be super cool because you have to follow the flow of it.

“WAKE UP” is so cool because I always wanted to do an 80’s ballad/rock scene sort of thing. Not in a corny way, but to just have fun with it. Especially with the visual side of what I do. When I create the visuals for this they’re gonna be fucking insane! I’m just really excited for the package of those two and then performing them too. I haven’t performed “WAKE UP” yet, but I’m looking forward to it. We’re gonna spazz super heavy on that shit.

How’s the experience been touring with Rich Chigga been?

It’s been pretty crazy, especially because of his demographic. My music is like for that 18, college kid, grown up a little, but still young. We end up performing for like 15 year olds! IT’s a different type of situation. These kids grew up on trap and are majorly from that Soundcloud era. It’s really funny because at first [the 15 year olds] are thrown off by us. But by the third song they are fully committed. I feel like that’s the importance that we have. We’re bringing the other side of that music that isn’t trap. We’re bring something that is more on the funkier side, yanno?   

It’s so much fun and we spazz the fuck out because we have our own songs. It just shows that there is this generational gap. Even though we don’t relate in a lot of ways we just have to be brave enough to bring that shit to them.

Do you have any advice to musicians and other artists who are really trying to break through and do their own thing?

Just be you. Just do what feels right. If you feel like you want to pull from what’s popular now then just do it. But if you want to come at it from a different way then just do that. There are ears for everyone. We live in a very blessed generation where you can get some push behind your shit. You can push your stuff through social networks. And then you can come up with creative ways to campaign it.  Just do you own sound and do it in your own way. Don’t worry about being a copy.

The thing about trends and waves is that they all crash by the end of the day. Just don’t be afraid to do it, that’s all.  

Images courtesy of Duckwrth and Jack McKain

Stay tuned to Milk for more UUGLY convos.

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