After five albums and more than 10 years of touring, the U.S hip hop group Ugly Duckling are returning to the UK this spring as part of their 2015 European tour.
Formed in 1993 in Long Beach, California by Andy Cooper, Dizzy Dustin, and Young Einstein, Ugly Duckling started out just as Long Beach was becoming the hub of hip hop culture made famous by the likes of Snoop Dogg, Warren G, Nate Dogg, and Domino. But, rather than jumping on the “gangsta” bandwagon, Ugly Duckling focused on funky drum breaks, soul-drenched musical loops, upbeat horn sections, and a back-and-forth rapping style full of rhythm and humour.
Influenced musically by hip hop groups including A Tribe Called Quest, The Beatnuts, Diamond D, and Gang Starr, the trio steered away from the mainstream route and instead decided to produce their music their own way.
They started their own label and financed all of the recording and in 1995, Ugly Duckling “released” their debut album “Down the Road” (on cassette tape only) and sold copies at live performances.
The next year, the group recorded a 12” single titled “Fresh Mode” and, with the help of a few underground hip hop DJ’s in Los Angeles and a series of independent distributors, they managed to ship more than 3,000 copies all over the world. The success of the single along with the songs from the cassette helped them to land a record deal with Universal subsidiary 1500 records, through which they released their first two albums, “Fresh Mode” (EP) and “Journey to Anywhere”.
Their first European tour came about in 1999 when they were offered the opening spot on The Jungle Brothers’ tour, and this was soon followed by a tour of the U.S with Del the Funky Homosapien and Casual.
Over the last decade, Ugly Duckling have had international chart hits, played at major festivals, appeared on numerous TV shows, and performed to dedicated and new fans in more than 30 countries.
They’ve always written and produced all of their music and have never bowed to any pressure to change their sound.
“Luckily for us, we figured out a long time ago that there is nothing worth selling our musical souls for and as long as we’ve done things the right way, we’ve had a job,” said Andy.
Last year, the trio headlined a European tour and supported Jurassic 5. Following its success, the guys will be back this spring for another tour around Europe including several dates in the UK.
These guys are not to be missed if you love Old Skool hip hop, high energy, funky beats, vocal craftsmanship, and a whole lot of meatshakes.
UK Tour Dates:
23rd April – Start the Bus, Bristol
24th April – The Watering Hole, Perranporth, Cornwall
25th April – The Factory, Weymouth
26th April – Bullingdon, Oxford
27th April – Hi-Fi Club, Leeds
28th April – Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh
29th April – Think Tank, Newcastle
30th April – Deaf Institute, Manchester
1st May – 02 Academy, Sheffield
2nd May – Garage, Swansea
4th May – Hare and Hounds, Birmingham
6th May – 229, London
7th May – Sticky Mikes, Brighton
8th May – Boileroom, Guildford
9th May – Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes
10th May – Waterfront Studio, Norwich
11th May – Junction 2, Cambridge