25 years ago the timeless album Duck Rock by Malcolm McLaren was released on Island Records in the US and on Charisma in the UK. The album, which featured the two big hits "Buffalo Gals" and "Double Dutch" and mixed various styles of world music -- most notably hip-hop and African -- still sounds as fresh today as it did upon its release in 1983. And while British impresario Malcolm McLaren, who was perhaps best known then and now as the former manager of the Sex Pistols, is credited as the album's creator or main artist, that was not technically the case. The maverick McLaren was really more of a hands-on executive producer with a knack for unearthing new trends before they broke and repackaging them for public consumption. (For this intuitive gift McLaren has been alternately criticized for exploitation and praised for discovery.)
Sure McLaren sings or kinda raps throughout Duck Rock (like when he does the talkover in "Double Dutch") and he is credited as "producer" along with Trevor Horn. In fact, it was Horn (post Buggles/pre Art of Noise) who actually did much more of the music production, perfectly melding together divergent styles and sounds that included South American and downhome Americana roots. But the real stars of Duck Rock were the many many vocalists and instrumentalists whose talents McLaren mined (and didn't always give full or fair credit to) from Africa's Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens to NYC's World's Famous Supreme Team. WFST's radio show, including its call-in segments, was sampled and mixed throughout the album ("Do ya scratchin'? What is it"), with the single (and video) of "Buffalo Gals" being highly instrumental in spreading hip-hop, which was still a culture in its infancy at the time, worldwide. The video for "Buffalo Gals" as well as videos for the album tracks "Double Dutch" and "Duck For the Oyster" all appear below.