About a week ago (*Bobby Schmurda voice*) I attended the Adidas x Damian Lillard signature shoe event (s/o Glenn Waco) and was promptly introduced to Oakland artist (and number 0’s cousin) Brookfield Duece. As luck would have it, PDX artist Aminé & his producer/engineer Jahosh were also in attendance, where I learned that there had been a special Oakland x Portland music collaboration in the works for some time now. Check out my quick interview with Duece where we discuss his background, connecting with Portland artists, his favorite NBA team, & more. Also check out the WOHM premiere of his new single featuring PDX’s Glenn Waco x Aminé — and produced by Jahosh — below. #OutHere
Tell us a little bit about your background, growing up in Oakland, and how that has influenced you as an artist.
Grew up in Brookfield Village in east Oakland. Played hoop all the time. My mom named my Duece because I’m a junior. There was another guy named Duece that played hoop in my city, so people had to split us up by saying “you know Duece, not that Duece, Brookfield Duece” so it stuck. Growing up in an area where my first grade class had 30+ kids and only 15-20 aren’t dead or in jail to tell the story makes me feel like I’m endangered and someone has to tell the story of a kid/adolescent/adult growing up and living in Brookfield and Oakland. My music is greatly affected by that. I speak about a lot of social/political/economic issues that we go through and the feelings we experience on both sides of that. Having and not having. Taking and getting took from. Chasing dreams to fix problems and being okay living in poverty. I’ve just recently decided to intermingle today’s sounds with my message due to the fact that I felt like my message wasn’t reaching the people it needed to reach.
You recently performed @ Amine’s OTM Party in Portland. How did you connect with him, Glenn Waco, & producer Jahosh?
I did a project called Boondock Saints with South Carolina rapper Ceeza Luciano that I met through my cousin out there. And while the tape was on Datpiff I was working planning on releasing another project called Training Camp, I was shopping the songs and doing shows in Oakland. I did a show at my neighborhood picnic and motivational speaker Tony Gaskins was there. He seen me rock and we talked after and he agreed to help me expose my music. I had meetings with a bunch of labels. The biggest being TDE with Dave Free. He advised me to shy away from Datpiff and get into the more official platforms, iTunes, Google, etc. So, I ran to Datpiff to erase [my project] off the site LMAO. I log on and I see Aminé’s Odyssey To Me tape. I check it out just based on the cover and the placement. It’s dope AF. So I fished for his contact info. Told them I’d be up there in Portland soon visiting my family because my cousin Dame Lillard plays up there for the Blazers. They say cool, and we stay connected for months. I then moved my project to Bandcamp just to give fans an option to pay as well as get me an email address too. I search Digi+Phonics beats coming off the meeting with TDE and stumble on The North Face by Waco and V[innie] Dewayne. It was produced by Tae Beast [of TDE]. I seen they were also from PDX. It all felt like I was supposed to be up there. Jahosh offered to let me rock a set at Aminé’s OTM party in Portland. I agreed and drove up there. Party was dope. Few hecklers at first but that’s how it is from out of town. Crowd warmed up to me fast though. Lol
You seem to be pretty versatile when it comes to songwriting & beat selection (from sample beats to trap beats, etc). How would you describe your overall style?
I would say my overall style is reality. Narrative. I speak about things I’ve done, or seen closely. I understand that not everyone gets a voice so I speak for much more than me and my family. I speak for my hood and my city.
Working on a project right now, or just dropping singles?
Yea, just released a project called Training Camp, which is part one of a two-part project. It’s about trying new things and warming up for the new styles that will be added into my music, as well as explaining the battle that many artists go through with deciding either to make commercial or hip hop music. Part two is called Hoop Dreams, and it’s about chasing the dreams further and for me chasing them with these new styles I tried in in the previous project.
I usually drop music when I feel like it. If the Street Academy think tank (Cash Rules, ShonuffNYC, C-Rob, Joyntz and my home Green Chair Music with Ryan Watts & Joel Weston) says it’s hot, then I try not to sit on it, but I feel comfortable making albums about a specific concept. The view points and pitfalls as well as solutions. I feel like because I focus on concept albums that gives me the freedom to switch styles so freely as long as my message is there. Nostalgic classic hip hop, trippy, trap, street, etc. can all be done by me with no problem.
Where can people listen to/download your music?
I have all my music in almost every popular outlet: iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, Deezer (UK), Rdio, Beats Music, Spotify, Bandcamp, Soundcloud. Pretty much everywhere lol.
Onto more serious matters. Blazers or Warriors?
Warriors!! I’ve invested too much into losing with Oakland to not be ready to win. We haven’t won my whole life. ’75 was the last title. I know y’all up there. ’77 for y’all. But I am a Blazers fan. I actually own two jerseys period. Clyde Drexler, and Dame Lillard. No Warriors jerseys. But yea Warriors are #1-A, Blazers are #1-B. If PDX and Oakland end up in the conference finals, I would have to side with PDX. Always going with family. Always. The Dubbs will be around a while as well as PDX so I’m sure I’ll be fighting myself for a few years.
Lastly – who is better on the mic….you or Dame?
Come on now. ME. Ask him [fake editors note: we will!], he’ll keep it real with you. Lol