Diggy Simmons is ringing in the holiday season with a new mixtape aptly titled "Past Presents Future," out today (Dec. 23). But the album's title isn't just a play on Christmas; it's also a reflection of the musical era that the newcomer is covering on the LP.
"The title is a play on words, specifically in the 'presents' part," the 15-year-old rapper tells Billboard.com's The Juice. "It's not just presents as in gifts, but also presents as in introduction. On this tape I'm covering 80s and 90s classics, there are scratches on there and it's hosted by none other than DJ Premier."
The mixtape wasn't always conceived as an homage to the time in which his father, Joseph Simmons -- aka Run, from the legendary group Run DMC -- was in his prime. But after meeting DJ Premier, he says it seemed like the most fitting approach.
"I discussed it with my man Rasheed -- we always talk about strategizing and production and things of that nature," he explains. "That's when we did the 'Shook Ones' video. From there on, the rest became 80s and 90s classics."
The "Shook Ones" clip was the first time Diggy and Premier collaborated. They saw each other again during the BET Awards when Diggy filmed an episode of the "Ciphers" that aired throughout the show, and Premier approached him about another collaboration. "He was like, 'I'm down, I'm ready,'" recalls Diggy.
Video: Diggy Simmons, "Shook Ones"
"Shook Ones," which samples Mobb Deep's track by the same title, is the first leak off the mixtape, followed by "Digg Is Like," which finds Diggy rhyming over Nas' "Nas Is Like." Other samples on the album include A Tribe Called Quest's "Electric Relaxation" and Rakim's "Paid In Full."
"I'm bringing back substance. A lot of people don't have lyrical content or substance or a message even they're trying to get out," says Diggy about his music. "The fact that I'm doing that, as well as the fact that I'm young and have an original style, I guess that's what's attracting people to me. I'm thankful for those that are embracing me."
Diggs says he isn't working on his debut album yet, but hopes to release it some time next year. "I always have a sense of urgency, and there are a certain amount of things I want to get done," he says. He also says there's a "big tour with a lot of different people on it" in the works, although details are scant at the moment.
A link to download "Past Presents Future" can be found on Diggy's Twitter as well as his official blog, diggslifeofthejetsetter.blogspot.com. He's also currently on Jive artist Jacob Latimore's single, "Like Em All," and hopes to launch his sneaker line, Chivalrous Culture, in the early part of next year.