Back To Da East
Track By Track: Back To Da East
Words / Tubby
I've been anxiously awaiting to do this third installment of "Track By Track" because I’ve been eagerly anticipating the project that I’ll be breaking down for you today.
Around 2009-2010 (I can't remember which, those years were a blur, ha!) I began recording at Out Da Cutt Studios in Anchorage with Raw Beatzz. I wanted/needed to do music with who I considered to be the best in Alaska, so I began recording with, as well as having my music mixed by, Raw. Raw was affiliated with Bay Dilla and Out Da Cutt Entertainment, so naturally I began working closely with Out Da Cutt (ODC) and the members of Up North D-Boys (UNDB), as we all recorded with Raw under the same roof. I value the time I spent at Out Da Cutt Studios, it literally became like a second home to me—I ended up, a couple years down the road, becoming a partner with them in a bigger studio and had my own office next to Raw's mixing room. To this day, I maintain a great relationship with everyone from ODC.
One person I noticed immediately with UNDB, and instantly became a fan of, was Duckman. Duck was the smallest guy in a crew of rather intimidating looking dudes, but when he started rapping, whether it be in the booth or just in a cypher with the boys, his presence was always the one I felt was the most entertaining. I remember nights at the old studio—I'd be blogging or on Photoshop—and Duck and the crew would be just spitting over whatever beat Raw was working on, and I'd always stop what I was doing to listen to Duck's bars. He always delivered.
It’s several years later now and the smoke has settled from the ODC drama (you either know the story or you need to do your Googles). It’s 2017 and the young homie from UNDB is now arguably the hottest rapper in Alaska. His confidence, delivery and skillset is at its pinnacle. And with his long anticipated full-length album Back To Da East finally here, I'm proud to breakdown what I consider to be a local hip-hop classic—I'm calling it now.
This is Back To Da East.
Make The Order
The album begins with a Raw Beatzz produced track—Raw produced all but 3 of the 13 tracks on BTDE—and the first line you hear from Duck is, "Real trendsetter, we was reppin’ 4 letters…" (A reference to his original crew, UNDB.)
Duck starts the album by proclaiming himself the "East God" and explains his return home from prison. "Bitch, I came home to nothin’, just my kids and my mother, a couple niggas kept it solid, I love them boys like my brothers, I was heavy in the shit, stayed duckin’ undercovers, when the beef come around, we gon' murder muthafuckas!" This song definitely sets the tone for the mood of the album and explains Duck's newfound motivation.
Politikkin feat. King Coo
The album slows down briefly for the laidback, smooth record, "Politikkin" featuring another ODC affiliate, King Coo. The Raw Beatzz production compliments Duck and Coo's flows as they exchange verses. They shot and released a video for the track, which shows them celebrating the mob life.
I could go on and on about track 3. Drill, along with a couple of other tracks off BTDE, were released last year on Duck's mixtape, Welcome To Da East, which I consider to be the best project to drop in 2016. Drill in particular, in my opinion, is probably my favorite rap song to be released in Alaska in the last few years and, to this day, gets constant play. If you've ever been to a Duckman performance and seen the response to this record, you’d understand the impact it has. It has all the commercial appeal for radio play, is undeniably catchy, and, at the end of the day, is still basically a song about committing crime. Perfect! Haha! I absolutely love Drill.
I finally got to ask Duck how the song was made.
"I came up with Drill while on home confinement. I made that song in 2015, right when I got out of jail. There was a whole bunch of shit going on. Everybody was getting locked up, couple of murders, ya know, a whole bunch of real shit was happening… Raw made that beat three years prior, in 2012. It was really a song that I made as a shout out to all the 'drillers,' everybody that was locked up and going through shit with their cases, people in my circle, and it just caught on."
Tapped In feat. Philthy Rich & King Coo
On the Ant Beatz produced Tapped In, Duck gets his Nipsey Hussle on with King Coo and Oakland's own Philthy Rich. The West Coast sound of Ant's instrumental mixed with Duck and Philthy's Bay Area flow mesh perfectly. On Tapped In, special guest Philthy Rich spits, "Everywhere I go, bitch, I'm tapped in, snuck in the club with the Mac 10, real nigga, worldwide, salute to Bag Nation, pull up in the foreign, with a bad Asian. Trying to knock an Eskimo hoe, anything less than 10, that's a no go."
King Coo provides an excellent, catchy hook and is slowly becoming the "hook guy" for a lot of great music coming out of Anchorage and the Bag Boy team.
Get It Ready feat. King Coo and Cemoni The Goddess
Duck, along with King Coo and Cemoni The Goddess, made a twerk record (translation: a strip club record) with Get It Ready. The Raw Beatzz produced bounce record was definitely intended with asses shaking in mind. I mean, what's a Bag Boy Nation album without a track for the Bag Girls, right?
Duck slows it down on Mourning as he dedicates one to his fallen homies and partners still behind the wall. He gives a hardcore history lesson over a melodic beat courtesy of DannyE8Tracks, as he discusses lives lost due to violence on the Eastside of Anchorage. Definitely one of Duck's more emotionally powerful records.
Killas All Around Me feat. Mozzy
Killas All Around Me is another one of the records that was originally on Welcome 2 Da East. The melodic, Raw Beatzz instrumental definitely sets a relaxing vibe as Duck and Bay Area's Mozzy very smoothly warn their rivals that they got hitters on deck.
Appreciation feat. Raw Beatzz
This is definitely one of my favorite tracks off the album. One thing Duck does extremely well, better than most street/gangster rappers, is that he knows how to pen songs for the female listener while never losing or compromising his integrity as being a "hardcore street rapper" first and foremost. (Translation: he can make dope songs for chicks without sounding corny.)
On Appreciation, Duck raps to the woman in his life while Raw Beatzz, who has always been able to whip up dope R&B hooks, smooths things out in the chorus with the lines, "I'm out here trying to get my paper right, hustle all through the day and night… I got that check now, I can run it up, I got that check now, watch me double up...”
Duck explains how this song came about. "This song was on the mixtape [Welcome 2 Da East] and that was one of the songs I made after listening to all my friends and their issues with their ladies. I also based it off my past relationship. The majority of the songs we make about chicks, we're usually kind of downgrading them, so Appreciation is one I made to show the ladies we appreciate them. Raw had that song already ready with the beat and the hook. The hook is about getting money. I could've made a song about money, but I made it for the ladies to show some appreciation."
No Love feat. King Coo & Untamed Kidd
Another favorite of mine, No Love, is definitely one of the "singles" off the album. This song is the breakout feature that Bag Boy member King Coo needs as he completely steals the song with his standout verse and catchy, Akon-ish chorus. "I can tell she ain't used to a real nigga by the way that she on me, the only time I have time to deal with her is 4 o'clock in the morning, and I can never love her, I just wanna fuck her… I see that she wants me!"
Another Bag Boy member, Untamed Kidd, spits a hot verse on this record as well and, along with Duck aka Quack Poppa, these three show the potential of an upcoming Bag Boy Nation album in the future. I definitely speak for many when I say that album needs to come out sooner rather than later. I love this record. Expect this one to build a buzz throughout the summer. King Coo solo album too, please!
My Feet Up
On the Rob Lo produced My Feet Up, Duck spits some of his best bars to date as he introspectively raps, "I hate the feeling of being defeated, I gotta second chance for another reason, now I go harder for my niggas who ain't got no freedom, you ain't got to be asleep just to keep dreamin’, you ain't supposed to be a shooter for attention, we just need them out the way, ‘cause they're fuckin up the mission, wasn't a plan to turn me into a monster, free the mafia, baby, my coalition is solid!"
Bars. The boy's got bars. And what I admire most about Duck over most local "gangster" rappers… I believe him. According to Duck himself, this is his favorite track off the album at the moment.
Real Streets feat. Untamed Kidd
One of the harder records on the album. The beat itself, produced by Raw, gives you an eerie vibe, as the song starts with Untamed Kidd spitting straight street raps. "I look at shit at all angles, all I really want is the money, fuck being famous, I'm in the field, walkin’ with angels, my niggas bangin! You know the game, lacin’ ‘em up like they name was Trajan, ducked off in my haven!"
Duck touches more on Kidd's exceptional verse. "Kidd called me to the studio. His verse was already done, he just needed a hook. That's one of the hardest verses I've heard from him. He killed me on that shit, I'm not gonna lie, hah. When he comes out, be looking out. He's coming."
So Evil feat. Trae The Truth and King Coo
On So Evil, Duck exchanges verses with Houston, Texas hip-hop legend Trae The Truth while King Coo sings the hook, "This life that we live is so evil. I look around and see demons."
Trae The Truth comes in second, after a verse by Duck, and he goes, "I'm the king of the streets, no doubt about it, fuck niggas and their feelings, I'ma knock ‘em out it, yeah, I'm trying to get to action, fuck talkin’ about it, green light, green light, I never thought about it, anybody could get it, I'm on another mission."
I've always been a fan of Trae's delivery and he definitely shines on this record and Duck scores another solid record, with a notable name, under his belt.
The last record on the album is definitely placed last for a reason. The emotionally driven, powerful record is dedicated to various members of his family. Duck apologizes for past mistakes and being away due to imprisonment. It’s appropriately titled Apologize and is as deep as it gets for Demar Moultrie, better known as Duckman. He apologizes to his children, his mother, the mothers of his children and even those who've suffered because of his actions.
Over the Raw Beatzz production, Duck says to his son, "This one's for my son, nigga, look me in my eyes, daddy loves you, little nigga, I'm sorry for the times I was locked up, doing time, I was just trying to make a way, tears in your eyes, when you came to visit me. I tried to laugh to keep from crying, but in the inside I was dying, I can't protect you from in here, love your mama, ‘cause she grind."
This is one of those records that in 10, 20 years, Duck will still listen to and the emotions will still be there. "I made Mourning for the city, this one is for my family. I really wanted to make a song, where if something happened to me, lord forbid, I wanted to leave something for them to listen to if I was gone and they can say 'okay, this is how he really felt.'"
This one is special, and the perfect track to end a solid, authentic, Alaska rap masterpiece.
You can stream and purchase Duckman's Back To Da East on iTunes, Spotify and all other major music outlets.
For more Alaska hip-hop, hit up scarfacetubby.com