Jared Lee, better known as Duckwrth, is the kind of artist you can play in any setting. On the treadmill at the gym? “Start a Riot” will give you that adrenaline hit to push you through the lap. Smoking with the boo thing and want to show off your eclectic music taste? “Super Bounce.” Payday? Blast “Money Dance” as you pull by the bank. If you’re looking to be put onto a multi-functional artist, Duckwrth is it.
His take on g-funk is smooth on the ears but hits you in all the right places with its surprising rhythm change and swung technique. Before the quarantine, “Michuul” was my go-to hype up song. It granted me the endurance I needed to take that one last tequila shot and hop in that uber. His funky melodies are perfect for mood-setting and there’s a song for every mood.
Duckwrth has this ability to get even the most notable couch potatoes dancing. He knows how to form a beat around catchy drums, rhythmic changes, and vintage audio recordings. “West coast funk is my musical spinal cord,” Duckwrth told LADYGUNN. “I can go as far as punk & classical, but I always end up back in the funk.”
LADYGUNN recently chatted with Duckwrth about his musical inspirations, the importance of spreading knowledge through social media, and his new album “SuperGood.”
Listening to you gives me an instant adrenaline rush. Have you ever worked out to any of your songs?
I haven’t yet. But everyone tells me it gets you moving. I just feel weird doing leg lifts at the gym slappin’ “Start a Riot” lol.
You were born and raised in South LA – how has that influenced your music?
My cadence is usually swung, meaning it’s behind the beat. This technique makes the listener lean back a little instead of being alert. That’s why it feels good to smoke to Snoop Dogg, he’s big on swinging his flow. Naturally, I picked up on this technique listening to mad G-Funk.
The album is really clean. What was your overall inspiration?
Black creation. Black people have been through A LOT, so our creations have a certain bit of conviction & flavor to it. I pull from a lot of places musically, but within making SuperGood I wanted to resonate in the magic of Black music and be a vessel of the past, present, and future.
What’s your favorite song on the album?
I don’t favorite my babies, but I would say “Super Bounce” has an undeniable rhythm to it that I really love. And Olu (from EarthGang) went all the way off.
George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and now Jacob Blake. When the fuck will it end? Will it end? What is the solution / your opinion on the senseless police violence we have witnessed?
Tell the police academies who train police to stop targeting black people. But the racism and hatred are so deeply embedded, so the only thing that would make them want to change is if they lose money and are defunded, or if the oppressed start shooting back. I am a man of peace, but if I was in school and a bully kept picking on me, it would only be so long before I snapped and proceeded to whoop that ass. I don’t want war at all, but America only understands war and capitalism. So, time will tell how this ends.
Spotify recently put you as the face of anti-pop. What do you think about being categorized as anti-pop?
Anti – Pop is a hard ass name. The Johnny Rotten in me smirks for such.
What do you think is the importance of utilizing your platform to discuss the state of the world?
How many 15-year-olds are watching the 5:00 news to get updates on the current issues? Twitter and IG are the newscasters for the younger generation. But fake news happens, so I pray that they have enough wisdom to know the difference.
Who is your dream collab?
Stevie Wonder, Iggy Pop, NERD, Outkast, Rosalia, SZA. No specific order.
Do you think your music can be a catalyst for change?
Music is a universal language not bound by borders or even language. Music holds energy. Energy can make you cry, laugh, become angry, become aroused. That’s the power of music. It would be crazy to think music couldn’t change the world.
What was your inspiration for your stage name, “Duckwrth?”
Duckw(o)rth is my mom’s maiden name.
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photos / courtesy of artist
story / Sam Berlin