DJ Super Duke began his illustrious career for noble reasons. “I did it at first for the girls,” he says, “and I love music.” His love of girls and music has made the 22 year-old turntable master the premier disc jockey for the Boston area. Ask anyone. Boston’s biggest entertainment complex, The Palace, the Bahamas Beach Club, Jay-Z, Wyclef and Spragga Benz all call on Super Duke to get the dancefloor jumping with his unique mix of hip-hop, R&B, dancehall, roots reggae and salsa. “I’m versatile and wicked n’ wild—I can play for everybody and anybody,” says Duke. “I can be playing a hip-hop tune then mix in a [Haitian] compas or a some old school shit.” And it gets the crowd grooving. Every time.
Born Jean Carducci Chery in Haiti, Super Duke was immersed in music as far back as he can remember. “My family functions always had loud compas music playing,” he says. “My father had a wide collection of vinyls and he played them all the time. As soon as I was old enough, I was going to the bals (live shows).” Duke grew up listening mostly to the guitar-driven compas coming out of his homeland. Soon its live instrumentation drove him to branch out to the merengue coming from right next door in the Dominican Republic and the reggae sounds floating in from the neighboring Caribbean islands.
It wasn’t until Duke came to New York that Yankee music got a hold of his ears. “My earliest experience with hip-hop was when I went to Hollis, Queens back in ’84,” he remembers. “My cousin was a DJ and he had records by Run-DMC and LL Cool J, who lived up the street.” It was also in NY that Duke first learned how to rock parties. Well, kinda, sorta. “Back then, I would just record things on the radio and TV and bring the audiocassettes and videotapes to back to Haiti,” he says. “But I used to rock little neighborhood parties with those tapes.”
When Duke returned to the States, his family settled down in Boston, then a town with very few outlets for urban culture. “Boston was dead as far as any black lifestyle and culture,” he recalls. “There was no hip-hop station, no local mixtape king, no DJ icon.” Not one to complain, Duke purchased his first wheels of steel: twin Gemini XL BD10’s. He was 15. “I rocked every house party, every living room in Boston,” he says.