Hip-hop has always had a way with words. Taking the negative connotations of anything and turning it into a positive, that’s what makes this genre of music so powerful. I’m sure South Central singer Duckwrth would agree, having aptly titled his new album I’m Uugly, which was 2 years in the making. Rather than being a self-deprecating remark, it is a triumphant statement on life – not everything is beautiful, but that’s okay.
Born Jared “Jerry” Lee, Duckwrth grew up in an ultra-conservative Christian household, sheltered from the West Coast gangsta rap that was prominent at the time. Rather than listening to Snoop Dogg or Eazy-E, the singer was exposed to a lot of classical and gospel music, which lends itself to his eclectic sound. Self-described as “funk wave”, the singer has no problem blending genres, taking after artists such as Anderson Paak.
The process of making I’m Uugly was not an easy journey. Duckwrth recounts living in a Hollywood studio 12 hours a day, having to commute an hour and a half just to get there, before returning home on a bus every night to South Central at one in the morning. But the journey was well worth it – the album is a celebration of struggle and uniqueness, one that bursts with life, thanks to the help of producers Channel Tres, Ru AREYOU, Sad Money, and more. He even managed to get Neal Pogue to help engineer the record, who did Outkast‘s back in the day.
Whether it be fashion, graphic design, or music, Duckwrth has an aesthetic and overall vibe that may be emulated but never copied. His story is inspiring and is perfectly summed up by his album’s instagram caption: “You can be a superhero too.” Steam it below.