Duke Deuce is gangsta walk-in to the top. Recently, I had a friend tell me that Memphis is really running the rap game right now (which sparked a healthy debate). Labels have been really tapped in with new artists coming out of Memphis in this new era we’ve been entering. Not only that, but Memphis rap has been dear to many hearts since falling in awe over the likes of Three 6 Mafia, 8Ball, and Project Pat. Today, an even more broad list of artists such as Moneybagg Yo, NLE Choppa, and Young Dolph have made an imprint. This new era of hip hop in Memphis has been setting the stage for southern rap with its rambunctious beats and ever so clever bars.
Reining from the Whitehaven (generally called Blackhaven) neighborhood in Memphis, Duke Deuce is on a mission to bring crunk music back. The music has bounce, it’s in your face. From his dancing and “What the F*ck” adlibs, everyone is falling in love. Along with many other fans, I’ve grown to look forward to videos dropping from Duke Deuce and checking out his latest posts on social media. The crunkstar himself has mastered the art of delivering heat and being just as amped up as the music.
Having been immersed in a cultural haven for Hip hop, Duke Deuce pulls influence from his fellow natives such as Juicy J, Project Pat, and his father, producer Duke Nitty. Having grown up around such a pivotal time in the emergence of Memphis rap, you can hear these influences in his work. Signed to Quality Control Music along with other heavy hitters such as Lil Baby and City Girls, Duke Deuce has already placed himself in a champions league.
When I knew I was interviewing Duke, I was sort of excited to pick apart the mind of the man with all this energy. I even let my parents check out the album and got a few head nods in the car. His recent album DUKE NUKEM brings that crunk sound we’ve missed back to the forefront. It’s more than a gimmick or just music with Duke, his music is a representation of his hometown musical culture. With a soldier/boot camp style album theme, Duke kicks off the excitement with the popular singles “Soldier’s Steppin’”, “Spin” featuring Foogiano, and “Army.” Sticking to his boot camp and very animated theme, the songs have marching chants, his eruptive “What the f*ck!” adlibs, and videos just as explosive.
At what point did you decide that you were going to bring crunk back?
I honestly didn’t, like it wasn’t a plan, you know. I just kinda started doing it. On my first album Memphis Massacre there’s this song called “In Dis Hoe” and I was just making crunk music cause I had the energy. And on Memphis Massacre 2 I started making more of a statement with it and verbalizing I was doing crunk music.
…What does that mean to you? Keeping crunk alive you know.
It means a lot man. It means a lot. It’s what we grew up on and I miss that sound a lot. It’s just what I gravitate to.
With anything that makes a bold statement, there’s always going to be nay-sayers. How do you approach that?
I don’t really pay it any mind. I have too much confidence to care for real.
What about the support you’ve been receiving?
Man, the support is great! I have a wonderful team. They are working hard man, all this work not just for me. They have been going hard.
Yes, having a solid team on all sides no matter what you do is key. What advice would you give to people about staying true to yourself? Because everything about you is so authentic from the adlibs to your dedication to gangsta walking and more.
Honestly, I would just tell the next person to be themselves. All the way to the core. No matter if people say its weird or whatever. That’s what makes you, you. It makes you better. No one should be comparing you to the next, they should be like “oh he/she is different.”
Speaking of adlibs, how did you come up with the “What the f*ck!” adlib?
In the very beginning, I was just getting started in rapping. I was staying with my mom at the time and I was in the back working on this song and I needed something that was going to make me stand out and that just came to me.
Outside of rapping, what are some of your hidden talents and/or hobbies?
I’m a full time father so I have my daughter all the time, I like to get on the game and stream on Twitch (OfficialDukeDeuce), of course gangsta walkin’ and then I also make beats & produce.
…I read that you have a cannabis strain coming too?
Yep. Duke Skywalker on the way! I ended up linking out in LA and we’ve been working on that recently.
Duke expressed that he really had no concerns upon releasing his new album DUKE NUKEM. He really just wanted to get it out there and get rolling. Fans have described it as one of those that has zero skips. He comes in delivering hard and finishes off strong on each record. His personal favorite from the album “Back to Back,” he felt he had to get something off his chest. “People were sleeping on me!” A more personal song from the artist. Even outside of this album, Duke has had impressive collaborations with OG’s in the rap game. Continuing to prove that he’s up next.
If you’re checking him out for the first time, expect a new age Memphis sound with a unique personal flare. Listen to his latest: