South L.A rapper, Duckwrth is the epitome of a modern artist. He makes music, videos (check out his I’m XTRA’d Out clips on Instagram), illustrates all of his graphics, and designs clothes too. He’s an energetic funky guy that might remind you of early Andre 3000 and N.E.R.D, but his punk rock style that permissively bounces through genres makes his sound distinctly his own. Duckwrth is all about breaking down boundaries and being yourself, especially when it comes to gender and beauty, which are themes that run throughout his music and his clothing label, B.O.Y (Being Only Yourself) a name taken from one of his tracks. Whether it’s his youthful spirit or progressive enthusiasm, it’s hard not to like him.
Duckwrth’s debut LP, I’m Uugly in 2016 earned him paramount attention and his recently released An Xtra Uugly Mixtape saw him continue to attract fans all over the world, touring with What So Not, Anderson .Paak and Rich Brian. During his first time in Australia, we snatched some moments with him for snaps and a chat, talking about his love for flowers, hanging with Tkay Maidza, and redefining societal terms.
Flowers are a common motif that appears in your work. What do you love about them?
It’s just kind of like reconnecting to the earth. Our world is full of metal, it’s industrial and just plastic. I feel like right now, it’s used in fashion and culture a lot, but yeah it’s a cool segway for getting people back into nature and earth. I fuck with it.
What does beauty mean to you?
Beauty is a constantly redefining term you know? But, it’s a certain sense of inner confidence. It could be a person that’s on like the most unattractive side to normal terms of American or Western beauty but if they’re confident, they could walk into a room and it’s like “Oh my gosh, that person is so compelling, so intriguing” because they just know themselves. I think that’s what beauty really is.
Is that a contributing kind of factor to why you named your projects Uugly, to that symbolize that?
Yea exactly, it’s like an internal situation.
You just released your video for ‘Boy’ and visually it looks into gender reversal roles. How do you feel about gender in our society?
Gender is another redefining term. In this generation, we’re just like questioning everything and wondering why certain structures have been built and figuring ways to destroy them and rebuild them. I will say at the moment everything is super sensitive because we’ve gained knowledge and shit, so right now it’s like ‘destroy destroy destroy’ and I’m excited to present that type of story in order to help rebuild it. It’s just saying that a male can come in so many different ways and a female can come in so many different ways – with energies that go outside of like specific sex and it’s not speaking on sexual orientation but just more speaking about energies that a person could have. Like, I was raised with hella women so automatically by default I have feminine energy but it’s also saying like it’s cool to have that and shouldn’t be shamed.
Speaking of cool, Mette Towley features in the clip, how did it all come about?
We kind of just spoke on the internet and just had a mutual respect for each other and really feel like I couldn’t really explain it. It was out of my hands. The universe just put us together and at the right timing, at the right place, and we just made that, and it happened. Now we sit back and just scratch our heads like ‘what the fuck?’ I can tell you from a human side there’s no explanation for how it happened, it just happened at the right time.
We’ve seen that you’ve been hanging with one of our local favourites Tkay Maidza.
She’s amazing. I like the fact that she’s like – I don’t know how to say the correct term, but just like Afro-Australian. Just knowing that African or Black diaspora spread across the whole world and hearing her story, was moving. She showed us some cool shit out here. For her age and to have such an impact she has on Australia right now, is really dope and super refreshing.
What was your experience like touring with different artists like Anderson .Paak and Rich Brian?
With Anderson it’s more of a mature demographic – it’d be like college and up, and like just all ranges of beautiful women and funk groove type shit. Definitely a funkier vibe with Anderson. With Rich Brian, it was a good amount of young kids wanting to just like rage, turn up and everything. So, just different energies really. Both energies that I embody, so accommodating to it was pretty simple.
You have cool style. Where do you get it from?
Kind of like whatever I pick up. It all comes from a kind of grunge, dirty type shit but mixing it with some high-end shit as well. Kind of mixing both worlds. It’s really just what I like.
You recently celebrated your birthday. What did you get up to?
I was playing a show. I’m always kind of doing music on my birthday. One year I was playing at an Adidas thing and literally met Pharrell on my birthday!
That’s a pretty good present. Speaking of that, you recently posted on Instagram – the best present anyone can give is knowledge. What’s the best piece of knowledge you can give?
The best knowledge I can give anybody, especially like in the art realm is to just study your predecessors, study the greats, dive outside the internet and the screen. Go to a library and go to like old vintage shops that have got books. Just try to find all types of kinds of crazy knowledge on your craft.
You’ve previously mentioned that at one point you wanted to stop making music. What was going through your mind?
I just had to find my bearings around my feet, in my sound and in myself I guess. But when I really found myself I really started to enjoy the music I was making, and people started to enjoy it as well. I can’t see myself steering away from music yet. I’m here for a reason and it’s necessary, so I’m just going to keep at it.
You’re all about dancing and having a good time. What’s your signature dance move?
My go-to for like awe moments would be like a spin move. Spin moves are really funny, and if I can actually land it.
Lastly, can you describe Duckwrth in 3 words?
Texture and Ying-Yang.
Duckwrth is wearing Rollas, Neuw, Vans, Stussy, Lukethemaker, and Susan Rose Tover.
- Photography, Styling and Words: Darren Luk