words by Sheldon Pearce
South Central LA. native Duckwrth longs to be the next hip-hop iconoclast. The rapper, singer, and graphic designer went to art school in San Francisco, and he credits the city’s creative community with helping him develop his style. Taking heavy influences from pioneers like OutKast and N.E.R.D, the MC aims to further explore such experiments funk rock and electro.
On “MICHUUL.,” from his new project, An XTRA UUGLY Mixtape, Duckwrth finds his ideal groove, staggering repetitive raps inside a percussion-led offering dedicated to Michael Jackson. Produced by Alexander Spit, another rapper orbiting the Los Angeles and San Francisco art scenes, “MICHUUL.” clomps about on blocky drums accented by buzzing synths and faint piano playing. At the center, Duckwrth runs down his list of things he’s chasing. “I just want an art school chick, that really like foreign flicks/Boyfriend jeans and Vans for the kicks, that’s still dumb thick,” he sings, somehow making a list of insipid clichés seem endearing. Slowly the song morphs from a stargazer into a come-on: “I just wanna jig like Mike/I just wanna spend my night, with you girl/I just wanna be your type.” It comes off as a little try-hard, but on “MICHUUL,” Duckwrth covers his raw raps with fluid melodies and a singular charm.