Duck Down Music

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Duck Down Music
Parent companyINgrooves
Founded1995 (1995)
FounderDrew "Dru-Ha" Friedman
Kenyatta "Buckshot" Blake
GenreHip hop
Country of originU.S.
LocationNew York City, New York, U.S.

Duck Down Music Inc is a New York City based record label, talent management, music-marketing, and consulting company founded by Drew "Dru-Ha" Friedman and Kenyatta "Buckshot" Blake in 1995. In Duck Down's 20-year existence, the Company has released over 40 albums and sold more than 3 million collective copies worldwide.[1] Home of established hip hop artists such as Boot Camp Clik, Pharoahe Monch, Black Rob, 9th Wonder, KRS-One, B-Real of Cypress Hill, The Away Team, Statik Selektah, Random Axe, Promise, David Dallas, Marco Polo, Ruste Juxx, Torae, Blue Scholars, Special Teamz (Slaine of La Coka Nostra, Ed O.G., Jaysaun, DJ Jayceeoh) and Kidz in the Hall.


Duck Down (whose name derived from Boogie Down Productions' 1992 hit single of the same name) was originally established as a management company in 1994 to manage the careers of Buckshot's group Black Moon and Smif-N-Wessun. In 1995, co-owners Drew "Dru Ha" Friedman and Kenyatta "Buckshot" Blake launched Duck Down Music. After successful debut releases from Black Moon (Enta da Stage) and Smif-N-Wessun (Dah Shinin'), Duck Down entered into a label distribution deal with Priority Records, at the time EMI's top hip hop label, which was home of N.W.A and Master P's No Limit Records. Within the first year of the deal, Dru Ha & Buckshot introduced its two newest acts simultaneously: Heltah Skeltah and O.G.C. merging the two groups, forming a quintet, which they dubbed the Fab Five. At Priority/EMI, Duck Down eventually brought over the rest of its core roster, which consisted of the Boot Camp Clik, members: Black Moon, Smif-N-Wessun, Heltah Skeltah, and O.G.C.. They released nine albums with Priority Records between 1995–2000.[2][3]

In 2002, Duck Down entered a new physical distribution partnership with Navarre Corporation for their CD and DVD products in the U.S. and Canada. Duck Down retained its Digital Distribution rights and has its own direct deal with iTunes.[4] Duck Down produces, manufactures and markets its products independently.

In 2005, Duck Down released Monkey Barz (Sean Price's solo debut), Chemistry (a collaborative album between Buckshot & producer 9th Wonder) and Smif 'n' Wessun: Reloaded. Collectively, the three albums cover Artwork was created by clothing designer Marc Ecko and marketed under the campaign: "Triple Threat".[5]

In 2007, Duck Down switched distribution to Koch Records (now E1 Music)[6] and began expanding its roster as they released albums from Special Teamz's 2007 Stereotypez, Kidz in the Hall's 2008 The In Crowd and 2010 Land of Make Believe, as well as Cypress Hill's front man B-Real's 2009 solo LP Smoke N Mirrors[7] and KRS-One & Buckshot's 2009 Survival Skills - represented a few examples of albums showing the labels growing diversity.

In 2011, in addition to releasing Pharoahe Monch's W.A.R. (We Are Renegades) album, Duck Down Music formed 3D, a music-marketing and consulting firm with its own distribution network that's experienced in navigating the indie landscape. Executing a strategy where 3D provides General Management for Artist-owned indie sub-labels such as Talib Kweli's Javotti Media (Gutter Rainbows)[8] and Blue Scholars.[9] This allowed artists to tap into 3D's expertise, relationships, and networks, while retaining control of their projects and ownerships of their masters. Expanded services from 3D are a Music Supervision Department that places clients songs in film, TV, and video games and creation and sales of Artist Merchandising.

2012, saw the releases of Sean Price’s highly anticipated Mic Tyson album, Skyzoo’s A Dream Deferred,’ 9th Wonder & Buckshot's 3rd collaborative album and releases from acts Murs & Fashawn and De La Soul’s Plug 1 & Plug 2. 2012 also saw the launch of Duck Down Visuals, a production division dedicated to documenting various artists and the lifestyle of their music through self-produced visual shorts. This included several viral Sean Price skits, profiles on up and coming acts; Freddie Gibbs, Ab-Soul etc., and special series like Verse Unheard.

In 2013, Duck Down Music was retained as project management for Talib Kweli's latest album, Prisoner of Conscious, distributed by EMI Label Services. Overseeing album deliverables, allocation of budget, co-op approvals, international distribution & overall marketing. Duck Down Music's 3D Division was also retained to consult for Cinematic Music Group assisting with Joey Bada$$ project management services with their distributor RED Distribution.

Music licensing[edit]

As of 2011, Duck Down has placed its artists' songs and original compositions on several notable TV shows (ESPN's Men's College Basketball programming, ESPN's SportsCenter,[10] HBO's Hard Knocks & Entourage, MTV's Jersey Shore[11] & Station Zero, CSI, The History Channel's Gangland,[10] VH1's Basketball Wives,[12] and more).

Other promotions include video Game placements (Activision's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Tony Hawk: Ride, Madden NFL 09,[13] NBA 2K11,[14] Rockstar Games' Midnight Club: Los Angeles[15] and more), movie placement (Limitless), and national brand campaigns (Smirnoff,[16] Belvédère).

Notable marketing campaigns[edit]

Duck Down's artists have previously aligned with several notable brands for their lifestyle and grassroots marketing campaigns such as Scion, Rockstar Games, Coca-Cola, Microsoft Zune,[17] Pepsi Max,[18] VTech, Reebok,[19] and more.

In 2010 and 2011, Duck Down partnered with 2K Sports to present a unique opportunity for aspiring producers and MCs. This involved an open call for submissions for original sample-free compositions for a chance to receive placement in the NBA 2K's game soundtrack (NBA 2K11 and NBA 2K12) and a trip to NYC to perform at Duck Down's CMJ Showcase.[20][21][22]

For NBA 2K12, the winners were the music producer/composer Alex Kresovich for his instrumental "The Return" (Ithaca, NY) and the rap group D.J.I.G. (Glassboro, New Jersey) for their song "Now's My Time" recorded over Alex's instrumental.[23] Alex Kresovich's instrumental "The Return" was also used for the music in the debut commercial for NBA 2K12 which aired on May 31, 2011 during Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks.[24][25]


  • Ruste Juxx & Amadeus360theBeatKing - James Brown of the Underground

Mix CDs[edit]

  • 2002: Boot Camp Clik & DJ Peter Parker Search And Recover Part 1
  • 2004: Smif-N-Wessun & DJ Revolution Still Shinin
  • 2004: Sean Price Donkey Sean Jr
  • 2004: Boot Camp Clik & DJ Evil Dee Search And Recover Part 2
  • 2005: DJ Bucktown Blastin' Off Vol. 1
  • 2005: Boot Camp Clik & DJ Tony Touch Best of BCC Freestyles
  • 2005: DJ Logic (DJ Master Nash) Rap Center
  • 2006: Black Moon - Alter the Chemistry
  • 2006: Smif-N-Wessun X-Files Official Mix
  • 2006: Boot Camp Clik & DJ Sherazta Search And Recover Part 3
  • 2006: Steele America Nightmare
  • 2006: Tek Famlee First Mix CD - Vol. 1
  • 2006: Tek I Got This
  • 2006: DJ Bucktown Blastin' Off Vol.2
  • 2007: Steele Hotstyle Takeover
  • 2007: Sean Price Master P
  • 2007: Ruste Juxx Reign of Destruction
  • 2007: Supreme The Perfect Weapon
  • 2008: Rock Shell Shock
  • 2008: Duck Down Hotline
  • 2008: Ruste Juxx The Prelude Mixtape
  • 2009: Naledge of Kidz in the Hall Chicago Picasso
  • 2009: Steele Welcome To Bucktown
  • 2009: Sean Price Kimbo Price
  • 2010: Tek 24KT Smoke
  • 2010: Rock Rockin Out West
  • 2010: Ruste Juxx Adamantine
  • 2011: David Dallas The Rose Tint
  • 2011: SkyzooThe Great Debater
  • 2011: The Best of Duck Down Music 2011
  • 2012: Skyzoo Theo Vs. J.J."
  • 2020: Ruste Juxx & Amadeus360TheBeatKing James Brown of the Underground


  1. ^ "Indie Hip-Hop Month Featured Label: Duckdown Records". Triumph Media Network. 2007-01-30. Retrieved 8 October 2011.
  2. ^ Markman, Rob. "Duck Down, Home of the Originoo Backpackers". Retrieved 14 October 2009.
  3. ^ Sewer, Jesse. "Duck Down 15 Year Anniversary". TimeOutNY.
  4. ^ Firecloud, Johnny. "Duck Down Makes Direct Deal With iTunes". Crave Online. Archived from the original on 2011-09-26. Retrieved 2011-04-30.
  5. ^ "Duck Down Records Readies Three-CD Triple Threat Box Set". 2009-11-17. Retrieved 17 November 2009.
  6. ^ "eOne Distribution US - Who We Distribute". eOne Distribution. Archived from the original on 2014-08-11. Retrieved 2014-07-28.
  7. ^ Dukes, Will (2009-02-02). "B-Real 'Smoke N Mirrors' Album Review". SPIN.
  8. ^ Zisook, Brian. "TALIB KWELI JUMPS "IN THE MIX" [DJBOOTH INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVE]". Retrieved 20 January 2011.
  9. ^ Houghton, Bruce (3 August 2009). "Another New Model: Label Signed By Artist". Retrieved 29 August 2011.
  10. ^ a b Burgess, Omar (2007-12-05). "Brief News On Duck Down Records".
  11. ^ Barber, Andrew. "Kidz In The Hall License Land of Make Believe To MTV, VH1 & Comedy Central".
  12. ^ "VH1 Basketball Wives". 19 December 2010. Archived from the original on 30 August 2011. Retrieved 30 April 2011.
  13. ^ Totilo, Stephen. "'Madden NFL 09' Soundtrack Features Gym Class Heroes, Busta Rhymes, Good Charlotte And More".
  14. ^ "NBA® 2K11 Compiles Most Powerful Hoops Soundtrack Ever".
  15. ^ "Midnight Club Los Angeles:Music:Full Credits". Rockstar
  16. ^ eskay (29 April 2009). "Buckshot & Kardinal Offishall – I Got Cha Opin '09 (Smirnoff Signature Mix)".
  17. ^ "Zune Hooks Up with Murs and Kidz in the Hall". Archived from the original on 2012-09-19.
  18. ^ "Pepsi MAX NFL Audible - Jets vs. Colts".
  19. ^ Chanda, Devin. "Kidz In The Hall and Reebok Remixes Kicks and Classics". Giant Magazine.
  21. ^ Fleischer, Adam. "Enter to Have Your Music in NBA 2K12".
  22. ^ "2K Sports Partners with Duck Down Music For Second Installment of NBA(R) 2K12 Soundtrack Contest". Wall Street Journal. 23 March 2011.
  23. ^ "2K Sports and Duck Down Music Announce Winners of NBA® 2K12 MC/Producer Contest". Archived from the original on 2011-08-08. Retrieved 2011-07-21.
  24. ^ NBA 2K (31 May 2011). "NBA 2K12 Finals Commercial". Archived from the original on 2021-12-21. Retrieved 21 April 2018 – via YouTube.
  25. ^ Dru Ha [@druha] (1 June 2011). "Wow @alexkresovich, your winning beat for #NBA2K12 just played on national TV. Opportunity realized:" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  26. ^ "Buckshot & P-Money Announce Backpack Travels Album". 2014-05-15. Retrieved 2014-05-15.
  27. ^ Goddard, Kevin (2014-03-26). "Statik Selektah Announces New Album "What Goes Around..." [Update: Release Date Revealed]". Retrieved 2014-03-26.

External links[edit]