The Essence – Talk First Rap Song They Ever Heard, Presidential Race & More

The Essence - Talk First Rap Song They Ever Heard, Presidential Race & More

MC J-Dubble and DJ/producer are Rik Ducci are New Orleans duo The Essence, recently released their new single “Soul Man”.

J-Dubble and Ducci joined forces after recording their instant classic, “Ducci Don’t Trip” from Rik Ducci’s Pride 4 Lunch Sleep 4 Dinner EP series, and went on to record their self-titled 2015 album. J-Dubble has shared stages Rakim, KRS-One, The Hieroglyphics and Ras Kass, and Rik Ducci has been a tour DJ for Busta Rhymes, Camp Lo and the Beatnuts. Together they’ve opened for Large Professor, Illa J, Elzhi and KRS-One. Ducci says “Soul Man” was “J-Dubble’s idea. We sat one day before a show talking about the killings of innocent unarmed black men by police and the lifestyle inequality that still exists, from filling out a job application to even booking an AirBnB. J spoke from the heart and we ended up with ‘Soul Man’.” The Essence are working on their second LP, Cold Plates.

SFHH: How did you get your stage name?

J-DUBBLE: My first stage name use to be Darccide the Sharp Blade. You couldn’t tell me I wasn’t going to be the first emcee from the south to join Wu-Tang. It wasn’t until I found out about J-Dilla in ‘99 that helped me change my name to J-Dubble. I loved Dilla so much that I changed my stage name as in a tribute to him and a change in the type of artist I was.

RIK DUCCI: My name came from someone mispronouncing my childhood nickname. My nickname coming up was “Snuch” (actually was supposed to be Snuff from Mr. Snuffleupagus). By the time I started spinning. I had already gone through a bunch of very lame and corny names I came up. So it was only fitting that my name come from a childhood friend’s daughter who decided to pronounce “Snuch” as “Ducci” (pronounced Doo-Chee) lol. That day the name Rik Ducci was given and gone forever were “DJ Don’t Sleep”, DJ NautHuMan (Pronounced Not-U-Man… was a battle dj and thought I was the shit), DJ Riki D, and Rik. RIP to me ever naming myself. Go figure, a 4-year-old had to name me.

The Essence – Soul Man

SFHH:  What made you decide to become a rapper?

J-DUBBLE: What made me wanna emcee was my love for the music as a kid. Once I hit my teens I wrote my first song to Suzanne Vega’s “Tom’s Diner” instrumental and from there I was hooked on writing verses and coming up songs.

RIK DUCCI: What made me decide to become a DJ was an encounter while I was attending school at Sacramento State. I had always wanted to DJ but my mom wasn’t having it. One day as I’m walking cross the quad I see this tall slim dude DJ’ing and he was nice. I walked up introduced myself and told him I DJ’d too back in New Orleans ( that was a huge lie). His reply was, “Man that’s what’s up. I’ve been taking on a lot of gigs and normally my roommate would help me out but he’s getting married, let me know if you want to spin.” I said I did but I didn’t have any equipment he said no problem, his roommate was selling his and problem solved.

So I bought his roommate’s equipment for $500. That got me two Technics 1200’s a Gemini PDX 15-A mixer and two crates of records. I worked the same night I bought his equipment and got boo’ed. I went back and told my new friend Al that his equipment didn’t work. Al later showed me in the most awesome way that it was me and not the equipment. He showed me how to spin and I’ll forever be grateful to him for guiding my path.

SFHH:  What’s the first rap song you ever heard? Describe the moment.

J-DUBBLE: Run DMC’s “King of Rock”. I remember the first time I watched Krush Groove and I wanted to be Run DMC. I remember watching the movie and seeing how dope they were and I’ll always remember the Fat Boys walking down the street blasting “King of Rock” on the boom box.

RIK DUCCI: Run DMC, “Sucka MC’s”. It was at vacation bible school and my cousins were doing a routine to it. Later on that day I remember hearing T La Rock, “It’s Yours” and after that I was a fiend for hip hop.

SFHH:  How did “Soul Man” come together?

J-DUBBLE: Soul Man was created due to the everyday situations that I have as a black man and that we face as African-Americans. Whether it’s harassment from law enforcement, the lack of care by the government and living below means with no honest chance of improvement.

RIK DUCCI: “Soul Man” was pretty much J’s idea. We were talking about the police shooting going around and a lot of the unjust happening in our community. He shot me the hook and I didn’t respond. But as soon as we recorded it we both knew it had to be put out immediately.

SFHH:  What are your thoughts on the presidential race?

J-DUBBLE: Both candidates have their flaws, but when you have a candidate like Trump trying to be the leader of the free world and the answers to all of the questions asked to him was, “We’re going to beat ISIS”, I can’t take that serious.
RIK DUCCI: I think with this particular race, the sensationalism has heightened and taken away from the topics that need to be addressed. I don’t think either candidate is standing on a very solid platform and the best choice would be the lesser of two evils in this race.

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