Check out I2G’s exclusive interview with Champagne Duane.
I2G is here with Champagne Duane, how’s it going?
I’m good, man. Another beautiful day in Oakland.
Tell me a little bit about your start in hip hop and who are some of your musical influences.
For me, it goes back to being a teenager in Miami. I remember being younger than that and liking LL Cool J videos and watching Michael Jackson, but it wasn’t until around ’96 did I really start getting in deep. By then you had Nas,The Fugees, Outkast, Tribe, The Roots, Busta, Mobb all dropping hits. Then one of my older cousins took me home one night, pulled up in the driveway, and played me “22 2’s” before I got out the car. That’s when I started listening with a different ear. Between that, Kweli on “Definition,” and “If I Ruled The World,” I was inspired. So I started writing.
Your new album A Toast is BANGIN. How did the album come together?
I appreciate that. It took me a while. I spent a few years exploring my voice. Figuring out what works for me. Having rapped all through high school and college, I thought it might be easier, but I was a new person so I had to figure out what I wanted to say at this point in my life. I approached the project like a thank you card. I wanted to make an album from the standpoint of a fan of the hip hop that shaped me, so each song for the most part is a tribute to my favorite emcees. And people tell me they can definitely hear the 90s influence when they listen to it.
Do you have any upcoming projects?
Dropping real soon, by President’s Day, is my next album “The Campaign.” The whole thing is produced by homie Cee Goods. Talented dude out of Portland- he and I have worked on a couple singles together over the years and I’m glad we finally got to work this close on so many tracks. I can’t say enough about the production on this project. It paints a picture of the political and social climate in the country right now. I cover women’s rights, police violence, incarceration, injustice, leadership, and there’s still some room in there to have some fun. “One Day” is the track people are feeling right now. It’s a perfect project for the time. We truly believe it’s a classic.
What about visuals, any upcoming videos?
I plan on shooting a couple. Yea. You’ll see more by summer time as well.
What are your thoughts on hip hop in 2017?
I don’t know if Hip Hop is reaching it’s full potential right now, but I think the light is going to shine back on real messages very soon. It has to. The people know what’s real and with so many independent artists emerging, more listeners have the option to ask for the truth.
What’s currently playing on your playlist?
Cole… Solange… Chance… Champagne Duane Radio on Pandora. Jonny Cool, Rasheed Jamal. I like to discover new names on SoundCloud mostly. Also listening to Monologue by Aaron Abernathy. If you haven’t heard it, check it out.
Do you have any upcoming shows or tour dates?
I’ll be performing at Mic Check in Portland on February 23. Other than that, I’ll look to set up a few shows around the bay.
What is your website info for people wanting to check out what you have going on?
http://champagneduane.com. All social media @champagneduane
Appreciate the interview. Are there any last words or shoutouts you would like to get out there?
I would just want to thank everyone who’s supported me up until this point and specifically the people who put their money on me to get this project done. Eternally grateful. Thank you.