From his upcoming album, new sneaker line and starring role in a nationwide tour that makes its first stop in Augusta, rapper Diggy Simmons is making a name for himself.
Fans of the 16-year-old son of hip-hop icon Rev. Run and nephew of fashion mogul and Def Jam Recordings co-founder Russell Simmons can watch the young rapper in action at the Scream Tour: The Next Generation at Bell Auditorium on Sept. 30.
Diggy grew up in front of America on the MTV reality show Run’s House.
Called the “next hottest thing” by many, Diggy has worked to become a rapper, shoe designer and trendsetter, or “jet setter” as his fans know him, in his own right.
“I’ve been working on my debut album, and the first single from that is Copy, Paste,” Diggy said during a phone interview last week from New York. “That’s on iTunes right now, and I put out the video for it. It’s on 106 & Park. I have my second single coming soon, too.”
The video for his first single has been so successful that it has passed those by Beyonce, Jay-Z and Kanye West to become the No. 1 video on BET’s 106 & Park.
DIGGY WANTED TO make his music debut on his own, so he relied on the Internet and his personal blog to get his music to fans.
“I got discovered and signed to Atlantic Records from the Internet. That’s where a lot of my fans came from and the people that support me. That’s how my music has been heard as a whole – from the Internet and putting my mix tapes, videos and freestyles on there,” Diggy said.
Diggy writes all of his own songs and describes his musical style as “honest and relatable.”
“It’s just about life experiences. I love when people say that they can relate or they say this song has cheered me up in the past. This song makes my day. I just take an honest approach to my music. I don’t talk about fake things or anything that I don’t care about. It’s my piece of me straight to them,” Diggy said.
The inspiration for his songs comes when he’s in the studio. Usually, Diggy hears a beat that he likes, and it inspires him to talk about a particular subject matter.
“That’s where the content comes from, and then it all depends format-wise if I think of the hook first or words in my verses first,” Diggy said.
“Sometimes I think of a flow or a melody first, and so that I don’t forget it, I’ll go in the booth and hum it. And then I’ll put words over it because I love it so much … Or if the words are all coming to me, I’ll just go on my Blackberry, and I’ll just start writing everything I want to say.”
Diggy said he wanted to pursue a career in music because it allows him to express his feelings, and he had a lot of things he wanted to say. He hasn’t yet collaborated with his father or older brother, JoJo Simmons, but it could be possible in the future, he said.
IT WASN’T TOO difficult growing up on television, but it did occasionally limit his freedom when he was in middle school.
Though he’s got a lot on his plate these days with school, recording, touring and his new sneaker line, Chivalrous Culture, which hit Underground Station and Foot Action stores about two weeks ago, Diggy said he’s able to balance it because he has a great team around him.
“It’s not stressful. I even get time, a lot of the time, to be able to relax and have fun with my boys,” Diggy said.
Because of his family’s immense success in the music business, Diggy said he’s definitely had to prove himself. His father is one of the founders of Run-D.M.C.
“Luckily, it’s only gotten better. It’s just a thing of showing and proving and letting people know what you are about. I’m happy that people have been taking me more seriously over time with my music,” Diggy said.
Diggy signed with Atlantic Records last year on his 15th birthday. He considers rappers Pharrell Williams and Lupe Fiasco, also on the label, to be his mentors.
“It feels incredible just to have so many people around me that believe in me for the long run, not just for the moment or to have a certain type of hit,” Diggy said.