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Catching up With Deuce Ducartier’s Rap and Roll
“I liked when [Creed] dropped ‘With Arms Wide Open’ and ‘My Sacrifice,’” says Alexandria-born rapper Deuce Ducartier. “It was one of the most returned albums of all time but there’s just something about the singer’s voice.”
It’s a darkly cold Tuesday and Deuce is giving me an overview of his rock influences at the 14th and V Busboys and Poets. We’re at the bar and he’s just finished a chamomile tea. He asks if I’ve had chamomile tea before. I have. He’s wearing skinny black jeans, a black military jacket, at least two necklaces, a grey infinity scarf, and a thousand-watt smile.
It comes as no surprise, but Deuce also likes Andre 3000.
He spent his formative years in D.C. rapping, grew disillusioned with the overflow of local haterade, and found love in Atlanta. Deuce’s verses are polished and hungry. He can double-time bars like a seasoned rapidfire gunner—and even though he doesn’t play guitar, he’s struck upon a competent, fluid strain of rap-rock that’s become his full-time job. Deuce’s hybrid theories garnered national attention in November when the curmudgeonly New York City purists at Nah Right premiered his bicoastal, Fat Trel-assisted video for “Boy, I’m Groovy.”
“I dreamed of what it would sound like if Alice in Chains and Biggie did a record together,” Deuce says. “I bring that—I bring what I think the records would have sounded like. It’s more than ‘Hey, this is a rock beat and I’m rapping over it.’ It’s more of an infusion.”
There was once this American Idol contestant who showed up dressed like a modern rock Jesus Christ. He knew the influences and textures, but he couldn’t sing. This could’ve be Deuce, except that he’s sharp enough to focus on what he’s great at—rapping—and the rest is left up to guitar cohort Lee Hendrickson and his 340 Music team (the Atlanta producers that have worked with Ludacris and Gucci Mane).
I guess the difference between Deuce and the suburban Hot Topic mall rats that lifted the now-reviled rap-rock of the early 2000s is his audience can identify with the lyrical themes as well as the second-hand rock licks. “They can relate,” Deuce says of his music, “That’s what I do—I change that. I make the urban people relate.”
Deuce will re-release his Life on Planet Rock EP later this spring, and has a series of D.C. concerts on deck in the next few months. DMV Beats will be there to tab out the chord changes.—Ramon Ramirez
Kingpen Slim in a Graveyard
Released in October, Kingpen Slim’s Triple Beam Dreams was his most personal effort to date. On it, the Adams Morgan native revisited his sordid past with a stark, refreshing candor. In his new video for “Dead,” Slim and guest vocalist Styles P trade vicious bars in a graveyard (of course), spitting about everything from good smoke to employing Jewish lawyers to New Jack City and Frito-Lay. “Dead” was a clear standout on Dreams; these visuals bring to mind the song’s visceral impact. —Marcus J. Moore
Lyriciss was feeling some regional love the day after the Super Bowl.
Early on Monday morning, he waxed philosophical about the intra-DMV unity and how to act toward our northern neighbors. —Joe Warminksy
In case you missed DJ Heat’s 10-minute interview with Fat Trel. Joe tweeted at Heat and commended her for maintaining eye contact in light of Trel’s rampant shirtlessness.—RR