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Of all Miami's dubious distinctions, one in particular is X-rated: No other city in the United States boasts a tighter relationship between the hip-hop scene and strip clubs. The reasons why are not so difficult to figure out. But if you're having trouble, Opa-locka-born singer/rapper Luc Duc is happy to spell it out. Tall, gold-toothed, and good-natured, Luc Duc hit it big back in 2001 as a member of the Iconz collective with "Get Crunked Up." Now he's released his first solo joint, In My Own World, a sixteen-track introduction to a planet wrapped in a chronic haze, where strippers and sex pros (not hos, mind you) deserve love and praise.
Luc Duc traces the connection back to booty-happy raptrepreneur Luther Campbell and Miami's long-standing media image. "Thanks to Uncle Luke and Miami Vice and Scarface and music videos, when people think of Miami they think of naked women. [Strippers] get to take all their clothes off [here]," Luc Duc explains. "All the stars come down and they go to the strip club. The average guy can go there too and see his favorite celebrity. A lot of [record label] execs, when they come down, they go too. When you think about hip-hop, you think about parties, cars, drugs. Strip clubs is the same thing: good times. There's just a lifeline between hip-hop and the strip club."
But that relationship is more than just an analogy. "You can break an album in the strip club," Luc Duc observes. "The way the girls move to the music; you don't have to worry about a crowd getting rowdy. In a nightclub you have to worry about the vibe of the party: Is it live or is it dead? If you're dancing, you very rarely get to enjoy the music." In fact the strip-club vibe is so downright enjoyable it's not just for guys anymore. "It's gotten to the point where women go to the strip club along with the men. I've actually seen a couple of people dating in the strip club." Luc searches for just the right words: "It's basically a family activity." Pause. "Without the kids."
But don't look for Luc Duc at Rolexx come December 31. "No strip club for New Year's," he chuckles. "Start the year off right." Besides, no matter how many times his rhymes might call for a young lady to bend over and touch her toes (to put it delicately), Luc says he's not much for the nudie scene these days. "I don't really participate," he relays, adjusting his faux zebra-fur Kangol cap. "I been in strip clubs since I was seventeen years old. Enough already. Let those guys do they thing. I have other things to do with my life."
Like joining Chapta, his fellow Icon, to perform the pair's current radio hit "Sticky Icky" at another wholesome family affair -- this year's Big Orange New Year's Eve Celebration. If you don't know what "Sticky" is, well, you probably don't need to know. Let's just say it's a feel-good anthem that might make more sense at a civic celebration in, say, Amsterdam. Just tell the kids (and the mayor) that "Sticky Icky" is about toddlers eating breakfast. And isn't it cute how Luc Duc is always rapping about cats?
Not that Luc is trying to pass himself off as the next Skipper Chuck. "I'm not going to say you can share [my music] with your daughter or your sons," he admits, "but the grown people can relax and listen. I depend on my style more than the words. I don't focus on the metaphor like most of these guys up north. Most of the time you can't tell what they want to say." There's certainly nothing left to the imagination in Luc Duc's world.
So what will Mr. Sticky Icky be doing after the Big Orange extravaganza? "A lot of smokin' and drinkin'!" he grins, glints of gold lighting up the room. And will he have little Luc Duc, Jr., close by? "Oh no," he shakes his head. "He can't hang with Daddy on New Year's. His momma won't allow it."