The popular kids never do anything interesting. Sitting at the cool table in high school is all about control, keeping an iron fist on the status quo, and so it's no surprise the popular kids grow up to be maintainers. Instead, it's the the outsiders that change the world. Unafraid of losing an acceptance already denied them, those are the people who dare to see the world differently. And because they dared to chart new territory, those former outsiders often also end up becoming the world's most beloved figures.
Duckwrth is an outsider. He always has been.
Growing up in L.A., Duckwrth recalls always wanting to be an individual, feeling like that kid who didn't quite fit in anywhere completely. As he said, "South Central was a bubble. Everyone was either trying to make it to Hollywood or on some gangster shit." But for Duckwrth, growing up in a strict Pentecostal house, he always wanted to see the world beyond that bubble, and he got his first taste of that world with his ear pressed to the wall of his sister's room, listening to her play Erykah Badu. Soon he was in love with Badu too (he jokingly calls her his first girlfriend), which lead to other soul artists, which slowly but surely turned him onto rock like Led Zeppelin, which lead to punk like the Bad Brains, which mixed with battle rapping in the cafeteria and made Duckwrth an eccletic mixture that didn't resemble much around him.
And so after graduating high school he moved to the Bay Area, America's home for those who don't fit in anywhere else, to attend art and design school. It's there that his music career began in earnest, there where he suddenly found himself at the cool kid's table because every table was a table of outsiders. First with his early group Tokyo 24 and then more recently with a collective of musicians and artists known as Them Hellas, Duckwrth channeled all of his energy into multidimensional music that was always as much visual as it was sonic.
And now with a move to New York City giving him even more momentum, Duckwrth is even more determined to unite all his former outsiders on a larger scale. He's already hooked up with The Kickdrums to make music and is focused on diving headfirst into music that not only reflects the fractured, often violent times we live in, but points towards the future. And while some amount of his plan is necessarily logistical - there's simply more opportunities to collaborate, link with media and get funding in NYC than the Bay - ultimately Duckwrth feels like his success hinges on his continued personal and musical evolution. As he said, the most important thing is to simply make sure he's "living to be instead of living to have."
And that's why Duckwrth is a Top Prospect, because we believe in the potential of the outsider. History has proven that there's always more power in being new, in being truly different, then following any established path, and while that means it's almost impossible to predict where Duck will be years from now, that's exactly why we're watching him so closely now.
Evolve or die.
[Nathan S. is the managing editor of The DJBooth and a hip-hop writer. He also occasionally talks in podcast form and appears on RevoltTV. His beard is awesome. This is his Twitter.]