Hailing from Los Angeles, DUCKWRTH is a recording and visual artist who wears his heart on his sleeve. With a free-spirited personality, Jared Lee’s animatic presence draws comparisons to a modern Jimi Hendrix. Proudly carrying the identity of both masculinity and femininity into his music, the 29-year-old continues to push his art into unknown territory.
Growing up, Lee was always known as the “different kid,” sporting a Mohawk while skateboarding through South Central. Turning a negative into a positive, he embraced his peers and proudly represented himself as, “Your friendly neighborhood, Duck.” After graduating high school, he attended Academy of Arts in San Francisco, CA where he began to hone in on not only his artistic talents, but musical talents as well. This included being a rapper.
Taking on the new moniker ‘DUCKWRTH,’ which derived from his mother’s family name, Lee began to develop a cult fan base through his popular TeamBackPack videos on Youtube. After releasing two mixtapes titled Ducktape and Taxfree V1, he suddenly moved to New York where he had high hopes of gaining a new perspective on his craft. Settling in his new home on the East Coast, Lee was soon exposed to the harsh realities of police brutality and gentrification. Soaking it all in, he used these new experiences as motivation to create music with a purpose. This lead to his politically-charged project called Nowhere, where DUCK showcases his keen ability to write, rap, and produce.
In 2016, he took the same momentum back to Los Angeles and created his critically-acclaimed debut album, I’M UUGLY. Clocking in at 10 tracks, this LP secured his place in the rap game: somewhere in between underground and mainstream. With standout tracks such as “I’M DEAD” featuring Sabrina Claudio, “RAREPANTHER,” and “BLAKK RAGER,” DUCKWRTH presented all the unique parts of his personality in a way fans had never seen before. The project proved to be a palette both visually and sonically, showcasing DUCK’s growth as an artist and icon for generations to come.
With progression being the ongoing theme, DUCKWRTH most recently released his XTRA UUGLY mixtape, the follow-up to his debut album. Garnering the attention of listeners across all genres of music, DUCK proves his versatility by taking it a step further and creating his own sound: a hybrid of rock, Hip Hop, funk, soul —and even live instruments (guitars and violins). What began as a compilation of demos and leftover tracks in his hard drive has now become his best body of work to date.
In the short time since its release, tracks from the project have been picked up by major outlets beyond music, such as Real Time with Bill Maher, EA Games’ Need for Speed, and even prime time television shows such as Sports Center. Tracks like “MICHUUL” reminded listeners of a modern Michael Jackson, while Highsnobiety deemed “Tomagotchi” one of “the most infectious rap songs they’ve heard in awhile.”
With his increased exposure and attention, the music industry caught on just as quickly. While consumers pressed play on the project internationally, Republic Records was busy securing a deal with the LA native. Newly signed, DUCKWRTH remained adamant about being hands on with every visual and every track he put out, remaining consistent in creating nothing but substance. Putting his art degree to good use, he also presents himself as the creative director, illustrating all the artwork to his accompanying projects. This includes his own clothing line branded B.O.Y., which stands for Being Only You. This campaign supports individualism and embracing one’s sexuality, further discouraging gender biases and blurring gender lines.
The best part? He can perform. DUCKWRTH’s ability to reel in a crowd with his live performances is unmatched. He currently serves as direct support for Rich Chigga’s Come To My Party Tour, with the majority of the tour sold out (Boston, New York, Toronto, Chicago and Los Angeles). With each new project, DUCKWRTH further paints a colorful picture for his palette, whether its art, music, or everyday life.
Check out our exclusive interview with Duckwrth here.