Think back to when you were a child. Did you ever imagine the hardships you inevitably would have to face? Most likely, your dreams were focused on the end result of what you wanted to be when you grew up. Your dreams likely excluded all the hard work and doubt that comes along with success. Adrian Duke Patlan’s life has been no different than yours or mine.
Duke, a first generation Mexican-American, grew up in Park City, a small community in Lake County, IL. His father was often absent, chasing a career in the music industry. Around the age of six, Duke’s mother and father divorced, which forced Duke to step up and fill the role of being the man of the house. Poverty-stricken and essentially fatherless, Duke spent a lot of time at his grandfather’s ranch. Duke’s grandfather taught he and his older brother about morals and the value of hard work; his grandfather stepped in as a father figure.
Park City, a small community located in Warren and Waukegan townships in Lake County, Illinois, is divided. Half the community attended Gurnee High School, while the other half attended Waukegan High School; Duke attended Waukegan High. He described two dynamics between the schools: one preppy and the other ghetto. Growing up in Park City was equivalent to growing up an inner-city kid according to Duke. The area was heavily gang affiliated and every day of his life was like walking a tight-rope. He managed to earn respect while maintaining his name in a positive manner.
Following high school, Duke went on to a vocational school and earned a certification in HVAC; however, he was unable to find a job in his field and wound up working a maintenance job in Wheeling, Illinois. After 5 years of mundane maintenance work, Duke decided the paychecks were not enough and made a series of poor decisions in efforts to compensate. He found out the hard way that there are no shortcuts on the road to success and found himself in legal turmoil. This was a very dark time in Duke’s life, but it was this storm that led him back to pursuing his dream of working in the music industry.
Duke’s first move onto the scene was becoming what he described as a “concert junkie.” He began commuting to Chicago every chance he could to see all of his favorite rappers live. He began participating in Chicago’s music scene as much as possible and, before long, had his foot in the door. He was tipped off to a Twista album release party on a yacht in Chicago, and thanks to one of his friends, Scott Emo, he was able to attend. Scott introduced him to Twista, and that night changed Duke’s life forever.
Duke has led a life of highs and lows. He was dealt a hand of less-than-desirable cards, so what makes him special? He never gave up. He came from having nothing and has worked for everything that he has today. Forget the kids raised with everything handed to them; chasing dreams with unlimited resources is easy. The ones who work for everything and invest blood, sweat, and tears are the ones who inspire others. The individuals who never give up are the true superheroes. So, what is it that Duke is up to these days?
Duke has partnered up Shoe Woo, a well-known shoe collector in Chicago, and they are launching Woominati, a management firm, later this year. Woominati will manage and record artists all under the same roof. In addition to his involvement in Woominati, Duke and Woo are working on launching a television show. Duke considers himself a connoisseur of cannabis and, with the legalization of marijuana in Illinois, will be discussing proper etiquette. He will discuss various medicinal products and how to properly smoke. Woo, being a shoe expert, will be discussing Jordan’s and what makes them special. Woo will explain what to expect out of a real shoe versus a fake.
Duke continues to work with Twista, The Taylor Gang, and Jetsonz just to name a few. He announced that he is working with another power player in the rap game, but is unable to release any names at this time. As you can tell, Duke has several very big projects that he is working on, and he is a man worth recognizing. He has continually made his presence known, and it is all paying off for him now. There will be much more to come from this young man. He has taken it from nothing to something; he is building his empire.