Interviews

Published on December 11th, 2017 | by Jameelah "Just Jay" Wilkerson

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Five Questions With Brookfield Duece

Brookfield Duece, born Frank Miller II in Oakland, CA arrived on the hip-hop scene in the early 2000’s as Duece, a rapper whose style provided a street conscious storytelling alternative to the rising street dance influenced sound controlling the Bay Area. Being a junior is how he became Duece and growing up in Brookfield Village in East Oakland with other guys in the area also named Duece, he became Brookfield Duece so people could tell the difference between them.

Starting in music with talent scouting and development at Major Ent. with Chris Morris and Dimitri Jenkins in Berkeley, CA for about 6 years before taking a break from music until 2011 when Duece was involved in a drive by shooting where his car was hit with over 15 15 bullets but Duece wasn’t hit at all. Duece took that as a sign that God spared his life to show him his calling was not to develop others or continue to take a break, but to tell his story and the stories for those that cant speak for themselves, weeks later he was recording lyrics for what became a run of mixtapes from 2012 to 2015 with Ryan Watts and Joel Weston forming the collective Green Chair Music with the most notable tapes being “Hoop Dreams” supported by the “Screw Up” and “Magic” visuals, and “September // Stacks 2” supported by the “September” visuals.

Those mixtapes with GCM helped expand Duece’s subject matter and conceptualism, catching the attention of cousin and NBA star Damian Lillard and was signed to his label Front Page Music in 2016 after featuring on 2 songs and writing on a couple others on Damian’s first album “The Letter O”.

Duece has since released an EP “One Day It’ll All Make Cents”, appeared on the Sway in the Morning Show, been featured on Damian LIllard‘s second album “Confirmed” and is releasing a mixtape “Better Late Than Never” in 4 parts during the 2017 holiday season, showcasing his versatility throughout the mixtape while working on his album “America’s Orphans”

Tell us about your current project!

My current project. It’s called “Better Late Than Never”… I would call it a mixtape, or playlist even. The tracks that made it were fluid up until the day I loaded them on my SoundCloud. Almost what felt good and fit the concept, made it on the project.

My manager Derrick Hardy, and my PR Christina LoDuca both agreed that my assessment that the world’s attention spans have shortened and because I’m essentially an unknown nationally it made the most sense to break up the mixtape into pieces, so that’s what we did. Each section was turned into its own themed EP.

Better – more hip hop and gives a little info on how I became a better person in life and in music and it’s narrated by Derrick Hardy who is a big part of making me better in music and life.

Late – more geared towards women and is dual themed ep. One theme, how I was late learning about dealing with relationships. And the other theme, my relationship in music and my willingness to speak about these topics and it’s narrated by two girls who expect a certain sound from me and are getting used to the growth. But they are also salty about me leaving one of the girls in the relationship sense. At the end, they have a convo about a line in a song that shows throughout the negative energy they had throughout the ep, they were actually listening. They were late as well.

Than – more of an alternative rap ep. Optional songs for my versatility. Like, other Than listening to these types, check these different types out. They are also me and it’s narrated by the change. The change is described in the music but also around the world. Specifically in my hometown of Oakland where at the end I explain the gentrification consuming the west side of Oakland from San Francisco. Other than remaining in the sections that can afforded, we are being pushed out. In life and in music.

Never – more of the street ep. The side of me that’s more of an unspoken thing. The past is there but I don’t use it to glorify myself for credibility. It’s just my upbringing and history that I love. The theme is shown as songs that the close fans wouldn’t have thought I’d do. The combos are also things that would never happen normally. Combining 3 songs into 1. Having 2 hip hop guys like myself and mic capes do a trap beat (people would never think we both come from that though). And it’s narrated by the hood I’m from, Brookfield.

Overall. It all combines into one mixtape that just simply says. I’ve made it to a level and it’s better getting there late, than never getting there at all.

As the flagship artist for Front Page Music, what most excites you about this part of your musical journey?

*Laughs at “flagship artist.”* Thank you for that, but I’m way too humble to accept that title. I honestly believe all the artists on the label are equals. Myself, Danny from Sobrante and Dame. Danny and I were signed the same day. And we’re all family. No flagships. Appreciate it though. And that’s kind of the answer to this question. The exciting part about this stage in the journey is that it’s growth across the board. We all have a voice. There is no one person above the rest. We’ve all done music for quite some time and it’s respected. So when we walk into rooms for something regarding Dame, as a front page artist, we feel like we belong. That’s the most exciting. The building of the label, together. Because when we started this, we knew rap wasn’t the end of the road. We’d all transition into executive roles.

Your sound reflects the blessings of age-old Hip Hop melded with a bit of new age…how did your sound develop?

My sound. I think I was blessed with great family members. My cousin Baby from NY taught me about hip hop roots.

My family and friends in Oakland taught me about west coast rap roots. My interest in the business taught me about the commercialism that needs to be sprinkled in. And my manager Derrick and my homies Ryan Watts and Joel Weston taught me how to focus all those aspects into a pill that’s easy to swallow.

And I think it’s still growing. I’m still learning and searching and experimenting. I’m a lover of all genres. But I stick by making sure the listener leaves with something. Something valuable on the inside

What’s on your horizon for 2018?

2018. Album. America’s Orphans. It’ll be another concept project. Because I’ve always been a concept artist. All my musical projects have themes. All of them. The entire album is produced by Like from Pac Div. It’s more visceral, more concentrated on the theme, more instrumental. It’s dope!

If Better Late Than Never is about me learning all these lessons about myself, AO is about what course those lessons set me on, in the mind about the world around me. How I think now. How I see things. And that might be too much info but I’ll leave it at that. #AO

The Hype Magazine wants to know: What’s been your CRAZIEST “Where they do that at?! Or “WTF?!” moment thus far in your career?

Honestly, I’ve never had one of those crazy where they do that at moments. I’m not really surprised by much. But a wtf moment for me was being at a blazers game in Portland and as the game ended being approached by a guy and his people and him asking me if I was Brookfield Duece. Don’t get me wrong, it’s happened before but never in front of my mother and aunt! The guy wanted autographs and pictures and it happened on a day that the dj played my song during the halftime of the game. Having all that happen while my mom was there to see it was like putting that Mother’s Day card on the fridge for her to find. I could see her and my aunt proud of me in that moment. That was crazy!

You can find out more about the rise of Brookfield Duece whom The Hype Magazine has been following since early February of this year…the story is amazing!

Brookfield Duece Discusses New E.P. And What It Means

Damian Lillard’s Front Page Music Launches 1St Artist ‘Duece’


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