Diggy Simmons: General of the Youth Movement Part 1

OK, so he is not from “the streets”. Thanks to “Run’s House” he is not a relative unknown. He's 15 years old. And thanks to his father, Run, of the legendary and possibly most meaningful contribution to Hip-Hop, RUN DMC, he was bred into an undeniable legacy that was seemingly impossible to appear from under the shadow of...

In 2009, Diggy Simmons caught everybody off guard- everybody. Diggy stepped on the scene with his first mixtape “The First Flight” and bent concrete; his delivery, fearless; his cadence, sleekly polished; and his lyrical content, sculpted from the finest of Queens DNA. Immediately upon his appearance, debates of whether Diggy should be rapping or not spread throughout the blogosphere and even reached credible websites such as AllHipHop.com. But the more attention Diggy received, the more he impressed. His remix to “Made You Look”, was not only the exclamation point to his rising credibility, he displayed his history of the game by paying homage to Queens native, Nas, a man that paid homage to Diggy’s Uncle Russell when he Ether’d Brooklyn native, Jay-Z almost 10 years ago.

So why is Diggy Simmons the General of the Youth Movement, you ask? When was the last time you took an emcee under the age of 18 as seriously as we are now? Think about that before you answer. Times up! Who else in Hip-Hop History had the same go hard delivery, a cadence built for Hip-Hop and lyrical penmanship around Diggy’s age; yes, another Queens native, LL Cool J. And while ladies of all ages are “whipping their hair back and forth” to Willow Smith’s debut single, they’ve realized that she’s only 9 and it doesn’t matter. Why? Because subconsciously, Diggy laid the groundwork over the past year and a half that no matter the age, good music is good music.

With that being said, Diggy Simmons took a moment from his Friday night writing to talk with AllHipHop.com about his new mixtape Airborne, working with his favorite emcee Lupe Fiasco and whether there’s a possibility of collaborating with his father.

Allhiphop.com: You’ve stepped on the scene, built your fanbase, brought some doubters along the way, turned those doubters into admirers and it seems that you’ve never changed your original momentum. So what is it, talent, confidence, having an underdog mentality; what’s driving your movement?

Diggy Simmons: Honestly, it was never having an underdogs mentality. The drive comes from me expressing myself and wanting to put out great music, the best music I can. With putting out these mixtapes, I don’t hold back. I give myself each time. The response is great and more people are tagging along. My support is growing and my supporters are inspiring me to do more.

Allhiphop.com: Your background is well documented; second-generation emcee that took your family off guard by ignoring a historically paved road by creating your own. Do you think there will come a time when your road will merge with your father’s? And if so, shouldn’t it be celebrated when it happens compared to the unnecessary heat you’ve taken for being born a Simmons?

Diggy Simmons: Well I already knew, even being young, that people would have their preconceived notions of me. I saw the comments on the blogs. Of course people are going to take shots. As for my dad and I doing a track together; absolutely, it can happen. Real soon? No. I am still breaking out as my own person; as an artist; as Diggy. So soon? No. But can it happen? Most definitely…

Allhiphop.com: Airborne is an impressive mixtape, but it was The First Flight that Rap fans and artists alike had their first glimpse of you leaving the runway. Aside from the features on Airborne, talk about the differences and similarities between the two mixtapes.

Diggy Simmons: The biggest difference between the two is the progression. Everything from production to the formula in the way I made the music. People can hear the progression and I could see it. The biggest similarity, well I wouldn’t say it’s the same sound at a higher scale. It’s just far more elaborate. Being signed to Atlantic Records now, the mixtape was a completely independent thing. But they were so excited and wanted to listen to it beforehand. They heard the songs and asked me if I wanted to save them for the album and I said, “Heck nah.” I want to represent myself each time, in the best way, so people WILL want to buy my records. It doesn’t make sense to save songs to me. Because when it’s time for me to work on my album, I am going to be that much better.

AllHipHop.com: We’ve interrupted your writing with this interview. How much time do you put into your sessions?

Diggy Simmons: I put a whole lot of time into writing. I put a lot of time into each verse. I write all my songs on my Macbook in Text edit. I write whenever I’m inspired by a beat or concept. Sometimes, I’ll write in the studio, sometimes I’ll write at home. I spend a lot of time on my writing. I believe in quality over quantity. I’m a perfectionist and not ashamed of it.

Click here to read Part 2, where Diggy explains his rhyme writing process, downloads and his teen kin Willow & Jaden Smith and Justin Beiber.