Mama Duke Drops “Braggadocious” Debut Album Ballsy

Local rapper celebrates release with a five-hour livestream concert

Mama Duke on the cover of her debut album, Ballsy (Courtesy of Mama Duke)

If you’re going to name your debut album, Ballsy, you’re probably pretty, well, ballsy.

Local rapper Mama Duke proves she’s just that on her 10-track album dropping tonight (Dec. 18) at midnight – although she might use a different word to describe herself. With a huge grin breaking out across her face, the creative from Palacios, Texas, unapologetically proclaims she’s “braggadocious.”

“In a room full of mostly men in hip-hop, I can't really walk in a room with my guard down, so that's in my music,” explains Duke. “Hip-hop is braggadocious naturally, so when you add all these elements of being a Black, queer woman, it's pretty in-your-face.”

Mama Duke calls her triage of identities – a queer, Afro-Latina woman – a “triple whammy” and is vocal about the barriers she’s faced in the industry because of it, from being bullied into the opening spot of a set as one of the only Black women in a show to sometimes having her sets cut short. But with her face against the wind, she’s learned “there’s no blueprint – you create your own.”

This unflinching confidence that’s helped Duke survive a tough industry translates into her music. With Soundcloud mixtapes like “Detour” and “Road Trip” in the rearview mirror, Mama Duke has used her music to document her journey through music and life, like mixing in ambient sounds from her hometown of Palacios with the help of her producer, Austinite Cody Kimb. Today, she considers Ballsy a gift to herself that’s helped her return to her roots – a sonic homecoming that’s just one stop on a much larger odyssey.

“‘Ballsy is this pit stop that you know isn't your destination, but it's a cool town to stop and take pictures at. You know you gotta get back on the road but wish we could stay in this town a little more.” Though the entertainer is careful not to dismiss the many impacts the pandemic’s had on so many people, she recognizes how it’s also blessed her with the time to ground herself and relearn who she is as a creative. And the effects of this are certainly evident as in this year alone Duke’s released her first music video, “Mad,” a CBD-infused tea drink called "Ghost" with her face on the labeling, and, of course, her debut album, among other projects.

Staying true to her nonstop energy and hustle, Duke’s organized a five-hour livestream concert, dubbed “Mama Duke & Friends,” in celebration of the album release for tomorrow night, Dec. 19. Joining Duke on the virtual stage are 10 of her favorite local artists, including Nayome, Daddy Nat, K Like The Letter, Wave Tribe, Maikéru, Sin Ryu, Cece Hustle, J Soulja, and J Bluuu (who’s also featured on an album bonus track). And keeping the braggadocious spirit of Ballsy alive, the premiere of Duke’s music video for her next single, “Get Off My Dick,” will cap off the night.

Catch "Mama Duke & Friends" tomorrow night, Sat., Dec. 19, 6-11pm. More info here.

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Mama Duke, Cody Kimb, Ballsy, Austin hip-hop, queer hip-hop

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