Record Review: Doug Christie by Juan Deuce

Providence hip hop mainstay’s latest track offers rhymes and riffs on everything under the sun

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Lazy sunny Saturday mornings, oak-paneled Elks Lodges, maybe a soda, maybe a skateboard, (maybe Space Jam?), definitely any time in the ‘90s – backdropped by unforced music; you catch a turn of phrase, smirk, and repeat it later in the day. This is the world I’m in when I hear the music of Juan Deuce, and despite the different styles he brings to his albums, EPs, and singles, I can’t help but find myself hearing the songs in this world.

For 15 years, Providence rapper Deuce (né Rich Abbruzzese) has been a fixture on the hip hop scene. He’s known for lyrics that have internal rhyme and complex schemes, and lines that fall rapidly without being rushed. This holds true for Deuce’s latest track, “Doug Christie’’. The song about the retired NBA shooting guard has that lazy summer vibe, easing in and staying at the same level of mellow, while Deuce takes a methodical or perhaps meditative trip through his own psyche. This track is full of movie references, Joe Pesci, universal musings, easy bravado, and lessons of rhyme – and that clean, reverbed Strat bent-note riff that mantras on and on and on.

“The throwback mentality lets me keep it simple and fun,” begins Deuce. “I’m always dropping film references because I watch so many of them. It’s fun to take a moment from a film and slide into a verse so the viewer can visualize the line.”

Deuce writes lyrics with equal intent on moving people to a certain place and at the same time, offering a window of what’s going on inside his own head. While taken out mid-flow, a line like “Hit the jukebox like Fonzi / with a full beard / Cause I’m coming out Jumanji / eating congee / how I got here’s beyond me / the whole cosmos is a quandary” gives the listener the kind of world he inhabits in his songs. Between references to Japan and pop culture, he guides his lyrics back inward, from the universal space his songs begin in.

“For ‘Doug Christie’ there is really no end – it’s bars on top of bars,” says Deuce. “I have a new song that I’ll be dropping soon called ‘Burn Slow’ which has a different structure and execution. You’ll notice a big difference between the two songs.”

“Doug Christie” remains one piece of a larger album that Deuce is planning to release this winter with all his music available on Spotify, Bandcamp, and all streaming platforms, along with live shows to come. All of this coincides with the 10-year anniversary of his GUTS single with Falside and The Mechanics, so be on the lookout.

“I take it one track at a time. Build up then strip down,” says Deuce. “I haven’t decided the title yet.” From Juan Deuce, we should expect nothing less.

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