In three years, Diggy Simmons has gone from notebooks to mixtapes to now working on his debut album, "Unexpected Arrival" (March 20).
"It was just more so about me getting out my feelings through writing," says the 16 yr. old rapper of his start. "That's when I started loving it so much. I was like, 'Man this is what I want to do.' That's when I took it to the next level and I started actually recording myself."
It's cheeky, but an apt title definitely. Before he started spitting, Diggy could be seen on MTV's "Run's House," as the middle child of hip-hop legend, Run D.M.C.'s Joseph "Rev Run" Simmons. While it's easy to doubt or cry out "nepotism" in this scenario, the fact is Diggy's arrival is a result of his own hard work and growth.
"It's me taking everything that I've done to the next level," Diggy says of "Unexpected Arrival." "Lyrically, everything with the production, all the content, all my experiences -- it's just way better than everything I've ever done."
Both his mixtapes and freestyles, including his early freestyle to Nas' "Made You Look" -- have been training and proving ground. Diggy garnered plenty of attention which lead to collaborations with the likes of Bruno Mars, Lupe Fiasco, and Pharrell Williams.
His time with specifically Pharrell Williams proved quite fruitful: "Pharrell really inspires me from more of like a general standpoint of never letting people dictate who you want to be. That's a big part of who I am, just being me and creatively being free and just doing my own thing, no matter what's going on with the times."
Diggy certainly brought this mentality to "Unexpected Arrival," but that doesn't mean he went at it alone. Producer D'Mile ( Rihanna, Mary J. Blige) laced majority of the record, allowing for a cohesive project.
"The way I write is I hear the beat and then it inspires the content and the subject matter," Diggy tells The Juice. "So he brought great subject matter out of me, great rhymes, he brought the best out of me."
"Unexpected Arrival" seems to not only be a statement of purpose but also a personal document. One of the areas where Diggy believes he's improved the most is his delivery. He finds the emotion necessary to make his tracks really hit.
"I had great things to say but I wouldn't just say them," he says of his older tracks. "I'd just rap whatever was written down even though a lot of feeling was behind it. Now I'm just way more mindful when I go into the booth when I record."
Diggy continues to work hard and steady till the release date for Unexpected Arrival" inches closer. "I'm used to having my work ethic be very constant, and just be at a very quick pace," Diggy tells The Juice. "Whatever I do, it's usually just going hard -- and that's what it's all about. So the only thing different about this is I have an album coming out now."