THE FALLING MAN
Republic Records · May 17, 2019
The project begins with “BOW,” a short intro track that starts off slow and sensual with the lyrics “I just wanna serve you / I wonder, are you satisfied?” However in the second verse DUCKWRTH picks up a much faster and more aggressive flow that carries on into the next song “FALL BACK”. THE FALLING MAN manages to find perfect balance between tranquility and intensity. There are tracks like “KING KING” and “NOBODY FALLS” which have pretty laid-back vibes, while others such as “LOVE IS LIKE A MOSHPIT”, “SALLIE MAE” and “A WILDFIRE” are filled with much more fierceness. My personal favorite has to be “SOPRANO”, which gives listeners a brief taste of DUCKWRTH’s soothing and soulful singing voice before the chorus, where the track begins to take on the body of a more typical rap song.
Most of the time an album (or EP in this case) either has a great sound or tells a great story, but it can be hard to both of those things in the same place. Even though he doesn’t have the status and recognition of an artist like Kendrick Lamar, who’s known for doing both so well, I would confidently say that’s mastered the art on the same level. While he’s said before that he’s not concerned with how popular he is, the story DUCKWRTH tells on THE FALLING MAN is about exactly that.
THE FALLING MAN examines the parallels between royalty and modern day fame, exploring the journey of going from a “normal” artist to a king of sorts. It’s easy to look at the rising stars of today and classify them as a different breed, super-human somehow. With the way that social media and the internet allows artists to skyrocket into international fame overnight, DUCKWRTH worries that he could fall back into the ranks of averageness just as quick. After all, he’s only human like the rest of us. While the song “KING KING” happens to be a bit braggy, DUCKWRTH is actually quite transparent about his fears on it, confessing “Insecure really, I’m lyin’ out my fuckin’ teeth / If you don’t play my words and beats, then I don’t eat”. One of the things I love most about “SOPRANO” is that it’s so upbeat and fun that it takes a few listens to actually process the lyrical content. “SOPRANO” is one of the most analytical songs on the EP, criticizing the obsession of fame that we seem to have as a society. With lyrics like “How the fuck am I supposed to breathe / When there’s so much bullshit all around? (You can’t) / Trappin’, trappin’ got you trapped / But it’s okay because the beat got a bangin’ sound” DUCKWRTH is addressing a huge problem in popular culture, one that prioritizes clout over far less trivial things, like health and wellness.
This review would be incomplete without mention of the 6 minute short film that accompanies the EP. The film not only strengthens the themes DUCKWRTH explores in his lyrics, it is a visual manifestation of his versatility and talent as not just an artist but also as a human. DUCKWRTH is a prime example of what rap could be. It’s so important for artists like him continue to make music that doesn’t fit the molds that society has formed for the genre. If they do, they can open up the doors to a world where black artists are allowed to experiment and create freely, an opportunity which is not always easily afforded to them.
Listen to THE FALLING MAN: