With over three million records sold and 15 years in the game, the independent record label Duck Down Records has managed to maintain their relevancy despite the evolution of the rap game which has shut down many a label. The legacy was celebrated on July 13, at the 15th Anniversary Show at the B.B. King Blues Club, revealing to the masses that the Duck Down collective is still in the game, still underground, and still hard.
With their roster and experience, one thing was certain going into the night, that the crowd will be witnessing a quality hip hop show. With the new wave of Duck Down talent on stage as well as the seasoned veterans, it was indeed a night of lyrical assault. Founders and Co–CEOs Dru Ha and Buckshot put down a show for the books as the entire DD roster came to perform the new and vintage tracks that have cemented Duck Down’s reputation for quality music over the years.
The new school talent took the stage first: Ruste Juxx, Torae, Marco Polo, Skyzoo, Kids in The Hall and Team Facelift, followed by the label veterans: The Boot Camp Collective – Heltah Skeltah, Sean Price, Smif N Wessun, and Black Moon who closed down the show. O.G.C. was the only no show, but that may or may not be due to the fact that Starang Wondah is incarcerated. (Word is he will be out soon.)
Additionally showcased was the lyrical wizard, Pharoahe Monch who is dropping his highly anticipated album, W.A.R. (We Are Renegades) through Duck Down this fall. Monch was a highlight simply because he really is that good. Guests for the night included NYC hip hop A-listers such as Jean Grae, Talib Kweli, Immortal Technique, Tony Touch, Pete Rock (who previewed a track off the new Pete Rock/Smif N Wessun full album collabo), Styles P (who dropped in to do “My Life”), and Masta Ace.
When it comes down to it, theses shows are really built for the fans, and are intimate celebrations between the artists and the audience who clamored to see them. The energetic and lyrical performances speak volumes about Duck Down’s longevity in the game. It’s clear that Duck Down artists recognize their fan base, a recurring theme in that they always made it a point to offer their gratitude to their audience. Crowd favorites Tek & Steele joined the mass of fans on the floor several times throughout the anniversary show. Duck Down artists are clearly grateful that there remains an audience for their music, with the unspoken realization that these are not megastars who are rolling around in money thinking about which car they are going to drive on any given day. These artisans are everyday people just like me and you that just happen to have a career in the rap game, and that “everyman” attitude was prevalent, and appreciated, throughout the night.
Think about it next time you see any artist perform. If they don’t thank the audience at least, then you have something to think about.
Here’s to another 15 years of Duck Down Records.