Dated: Monday – March 26, 2012
Diggy Simmons has hip-hop in his blood.
His father is Joseph Simmons, aka Rev Run, a member of Run-DMC and one of the biggest hip-hop artists in music history, and Diggy’s uncle is Russell Simmons, one of the biggest hip-hop moguls in the music business. With these genes, he’s seemingly destined for greatness.
But Diggy did not simply ride the coattails of his elders’ successes; with ambition and talent, he has shown that he can stand on his own.
Diggy started a blog, “Life of the Jet Setter,” which helped him create his own fan base known as “jetsetters.” He posted his freestyle over the Nas track “Made You Look,” catching the attention of hip-hop listeners everywhere and prompting Kanye West to re-post the video on his blog.
Despite the pressure of big-name artist cosigns, debut hype and the family name, Diggy steps up to the plate, with Unexpected Arrival delivering one of the most bold albums any 17-year-old rapper could.
Diggy puts this confidence on display right away on the early tracks of the album. He officially announces his arrival on the track “Hello World,” full of stadium-sounding drums and a distorted voice yelling strongly “I’m here, and I’m here to stay” on the hook.
Simmons continues this show of swagger and confidence with “88,” in which he raps about rising to fame and fortune that could be traced back to 1988 even though he wasn’t born yet. Jadakiss brings his signature gritty rapping style to the song as well, describing his own life and financial success in 1988 when he was just 13 years old, ending his verse saying, “I’m still spending money that’s 24 years old.”
This confidence comes through especially on songs focused on girls, and none does this better than the lead single, “Do It Like You,” featuring singer Jeremih.
Diggy raps to his dream girl about how she leaves everyone else in the dust with the way she carries herself. He even lets out a bit of a serenade when he sings, “You’re such boss but carry yourself like a lady / The baddest out ya crew and that is not up for debating.” Though Diggy acknowledges that it seems “every rapper only wants that sexual healing / Marvin Gaye,” he makes a pretty convincing argument that he wants her for much more than that.
Lyrically, Unexpected Arrival has its share of songs that allow Diggy to simply flow over pretty good beats. “Tom Edison” has an up-tempo rhythm that incorporates rock music, such as electric guitar and drums.
Here, Diggy drops lines specifically intended for his critics, telling them “All you do is talk a good game like Bob Costas.” Similarly, he puts his wordplay abilities on display with lines like “On a scale of one through 10, I come after nine / You half of mine, so that makes you a Jackson Five.”
Diggy’s background is a prominent theme throughout the album, but he specifically focuses on this during the song “Unforgivable Blackness.”
Though the beat has a very cheesy “everyone come together” feel to it, Diggy raps about unity, about all black people being equally black, whether you come from an inner-city neighborhood or a wealthy family.
The first lines of the track are quite possibly its strongest lyrics as Diggy raps, “They wanna take away my black card ’cause I got a black card / Say I don’t rap hard ’cause I don’t act hard / But if I act hard, they would say that’s odd / And they would still hate, man, I don’t get that part.” Here, Diggy’s thorough and logical rap exemplifies just how intelligent and well-spoken he already is, despite his young age.
For such a young rapper to put out an album like Unexpected Arrival, Diggy should be more than satisfied with his work. Though the album seems to cater to a younger demographic at times, Diggy proves that age is nothing but a number for him when it comes to being able to put together a solid rap album. At only 17 years old, there is no doubt that Diggy will continue to improve in every musical aspect.
Though his arrival might not have been as unexpected as his peers, he has arrived, nonetheless.