Arts and Entertainment

Duckwrth Brings “SuperGood” Vibes to His Major Label Debut

Duckwrth brings energy, passion, and good vibes to his first album with Republic Records.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

“Sweeter than honeycomb with twelve bees / Ripp like a Crip that's missing one C / Hop on the magic dragon and fly overseas / For sushi and shabuya, fly back before 3.”

With these four bars, Los Angeles singer/rapper Duckwrth (Jared Lee) kicks off his official major label debut album “SuperGood,” a 16-track journey into the synth-driven mind of an up-and-coming star.

Right off the bat, the project’s energy is infectious. Packed with gliding synths, snappy drums, and a pounding bass beat on every track, Duckwrth has found a formula that fits his funk and hip-hop stylings perfectly—fast-paced, slick, and dynamic. You’ll never catch the album standing still or looking back, as the project constantly moving forward in new directions, sometimes only resting on a track idea for 30 seconds to a minute before jumping to the next concept.

The true beauty of Duckwrth’s rapid-fire pacing, however, comes in the transitions between tracks. No two tracks hinge on two distinct ideas, allowing him to blend the songs together seamlessly, often extending one instrument from the end of one song into the beginning of the other, making the album a truly cohesive experience. An example of this clearly preconceived flow comes at the end of the 11th track “Super Bounce” and into the beginning of the following track, “Weekend?” At the end of the former, nearly all of the glossy pads and booming bass loops are stripped back, leaving only a man’s voice and a shimmering synth to close out the song. The man only gets to begin his sentence (“You got me—”) before the track comes to a close. The synth and the voice, however, continue without interruption at the start of the second track, allowing for a perfect blend (“—on another level,” the man continues, without a beat).

In the past, Duckwrth has felt most comfortable when vocalizing at the intersection of funk and hip-hop, the exact spot he picks up on with “SuperGood.” Whether he’s singing (“Too Bad,” “Super Good”), rapping (“Tuesday,” “Super Bounce”), or both (“Money Dance,” “New Love Song”), he always feels right on the edge of both genres, while adding his own unique personality and flair.

On a project created by a man with so much tangible passion and energy, the features of “SuperGood” feel extremely unimportant, and their lack of necessity is felt throughout. Despite bringing in both established industry players like rap-duo EARTHGANG and propping up new talent like Radio Ahlee and G.L.A.M., his bubbly presence is missed as soon as somebody who isn’t him takes the wheel. This same feeling is present during the occasional spoken word segments of the project, and while they do act as a pleasant contrast to the consistently packed flow of the album, they feel like fillers without a clear narrative purpose to the album.

There’s no artist in the game right now that sounds like Duckwrth. He’s found an incredibly unique pocket of the industry, and while he is not doing anything entirely groundbreaking in its own right, he does it with so much conviction that it stops mattering. When you picture Duckwrth as you listen to his music, it’s hard not to imagine him with a smile plastered across his face. Part of what separates him from his peers in the industry is simply the attitude with which he approaches each and every track that he creates. Just going off of the names of some of the tracks on his new project—“Super Good,” “Super Bounce,” “Money Dance,” etc.—his positivity is evident. On “Super Good,” Duckwrth puts his positivity into his own words: “Now what do I mean by good? (Good) / I mean that deep down feeling (Uh) / That when the bass slap on ten and make you throw your hands to the ceiling.” Duckwrth manages to pour this “good” into all 44 minutes of his newest project, finding the bright side of a genre so often cluttered with dark synths and grovely delivery.

Save for choice artists like Aminé and Vince Staples, it’s extremely difficult to pinpoint rappers who are able to maintain a level of consistent energy and vigor to match Duckwrth’s. Unlike his contemporaries that might be able to keep up in that regard, his production and instrumentation match his flow and tempo in a way that no other rapper has been able to channel. This isn’t to say that Duckwrth is the most skilled or talented rapper in the entire hip-hop game, but he is undeniably doing something that very few people would be able to: he’s making feel-good music, and he’s having a good time doing it.

“SuperGood” is a project that feels dynamic from start to finish. With glossy production and infectious energy throughout all 16 tracks, it’s clear that more mainstream commercial success is in Duckwrth’s future. While his biggest credits to date are an appearance on the “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” (2018) soundtrack and a mixtape single called “MICHUUL.,” which has garnered over 30 million streams on Spotify alone, it’s hard to see how Duckwrth won’t be blowing up within the next few years. One thing’s for sure: we haven’t heard the last of Jared Lee just yet.