Duckwrth was not phoning in his Erb Memorial Union performance. He instead took every chance he could to interact with the audience. (Nic Castillon/Emerald)

On Friday, Feb. 15, Los Angeles-based rapper Duckwrth performed a free show in the Redwood Auditorium of the Erb Memorial Union. From a small stage, standing just above eye-level, he kept the crowd engaged with a mix of high-energy hip-hop, danceable beats and an expressive delivery.

The show began with performances from two UO hip-hop dance groups: Duck Street Dance and Jam Squad. Rapper Dagan, along with Eugene-based producer Kid April, also provided an opening set.

Duckwrth’s DJ took the stage a little after 8 p.m., spinning a mix of popular hip-hop tracks to hype up the crowd. Audience members sang along to cuts from Childish Gambino and Kendrick Lamar — both of which are obvious influences on Duckwrth’s sound.

Around 10 minutes later, Duckwrth himself took the stage and opened up the set with his most recent single, “SOPRANO.” The song begins with gospel-style piano chords before making a radical shift into an overdriven bass instrumental. Duckwrth shouted into his mic: “Crank that bitch to a million / Turn that bitch to a million.”

But, less than halfway through the song, the DJ brought the track to an abrupt halt and asked the sound technicians to turn up the volume — which brought cheers from the crowd. Duckwrth then started over from the beginning, with an even greater energy at a volume that did justice to the song’s aggressive drive.

After the song, he asked about the University of Oregon being home of the Ducks. “That’s kind of cute because I’m Duckwrth and shit,” he said.

Much of his set consisted of songs from his 2016 mixtape “I’m Uugly” and 2017’s “An XTRA UUGLY Mixtape.” On “TAMAGOTCHI,” the audience sang along to the hook. Before the song “THROWYOASSOUT,” Duckwrth gave a lengthy commentary on “booty sweat,” which according to him, happens when you’re dancing so hard the sweat begins to roll down your back. “I want booty sweat as far as the eye can see,” he said to the crowd.

The Redwood Auditorium was only halfway full, but everyone there appeared to be engaged with the show. Duckwrth was not phoning in a performance. He instead took every chance he could to interact with the audience.

Duckwrth said it was his first show of 2019, and for that reason he was excited to be performing for a good crowd. He asked what everyone had been up to this year. He then said that he had been spending most of his time in the studio “uber eating.”

Some unreleased material made its way into the setlist after Duckwrth asked the crowd if he could do some brand new stuff. He mentioned that he had two new projects on the way, one of which already had a name: “The Falling Man.”

At around 9:10 p.m., he ended his hour-long set with the lively and confrontational “FALL BACK.” Once the show was over, he thanked the crowd and asked everyone to turn to someone else and give them a hug. He then made a quick exit from the stage. All around, the night was a celebration of passionate, feel-good music.

Nic is an Arts and Culture writer for the Daily Emerald. Mostly music stuff, you know. You can also hear him DJ on KWVA every Wednesday... Jimmy Buffet and Captain Beefheart... that sort of stuff.

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