In the Studio with Deuce and Mil

“Burlington’s never seen anything like this before,” boasts Mil (a.k.a. Maximil, government name Maxwell Ukegbu) as he sits on the edge of his bed. The walls of his single in MAT, on a floor where he is the RA, are remarkably bare white cinderblock, giving the room an almost bomb shelter-like appearance. On the far side of the bed sits Deuce (a.k.a. “the George Clooney of the rap game,” because he “does it without wife and kids,” government name Jerome Abraham), the second half of the duo. This room doubles as their impromptu recording studio where they use the same $20 mic they bought when they started rapping, along with a laptop featuring Cubase recording software used to pro?duce their tunes. According to Deuce, their music is recorded in-house. That being said, it has a remarkably professional sound. Both have the confident swagger you’d expect from artists with two well-received mix-tapes under their belts and a third about to be released on Valentine’s Day. These sophomores hail from the respective birthplace of hip-hop, the South Bronx, says their manager, Louis Armistead (a.k.a. Big Lou). Strangely enough, both attended the same middle school but didn’t meet until their freshman orientation at UVM. Realizing their collective talent and drive to create music, they have been making the kind of sounds that are almost completely foreign to Vermont: dark, street hip-hop. They cite Tupac and Biggie along with contemporaries like Fabolous and Young Buck as their main influences. They make an aggressive breed of hip-hop, which they say they’ve had to “tone down” to appeal to a larger audience. Mil claims “the best hip- hop is in your face,” and from listening to their mix-tapes, you get a sense of their unrelenting energy. Among Deuce and Mil there’s a noticeable element of fraternal competitiveness that pushes each to outdo the other on every track. They’ve recently gained further exposure since connecting with living legend and UVM student, Big Lou, who became their defacto manager. Big Lou claims he happened across the two MCs at a house party and was rightfully impressed by their energy and ability. The CD release party for their new mix-tape, “Double Jeopardy,” is scheduled for Feb. 14 at Second Floor. Check out their page at http://www.myspace.com/doubletrou?blenyc, where you can also listen to several tracks. With the genre ever evolving, Deuce and Mil create a fresh alternative to Burlington’s underground scene by evoking the essence of their hometown, the borough where hip-hop was born.