Watch the Duck

Electronic group Watch the Duck got their big break with the dubstep-meets-blues single "Poppin' Off" before moving beyond those trappings into more soulful territory. Formed in Montgomery, Alabama in 2012 by vocalist Jesse Rankins, DJ/percussionist Eddie Smith III, and keyboardist (and duck-costume wearer) Jonathan Wells (later briefly replaced by guitarist Oscar White III), Watch the Duck combined the sounds of Gnarls Barkley with big-drop, Skrillex dubstep, calling the result "trapstep" or "soulstep." The funky blend appeared on "Poppin' Off," which was featured on their cleverly titled debut EP, Anatidaephobia (Epic), the term for a fear of being watched by ducks. Their follow-up, 2015's The Trojan Horse, featured appearances by Pharrell Williams, T.I., ScHoolboy Q, Afrojack, Steve Aoki, and more. A deluxe edition arrived in 2017, featuring a tripled track list with multiple remixes. In 2017, WTD hopped onto the Wiwek track "Drum Nation" and issued their own single, "Friends Only," which marked their departure from the dubstep scene into smoother, R&B-influenced nostalgia. By 2018, they were reduced to a duo. Rankins and Smith continued the move away from hard electronic on "There You Are," which echoed the vibe of MNEK, Keys N Krates, and Pell. ~ Neil Z. Yeung

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