"Unexpected Arrival" is a cheeky title for Diggy's debut album. After all, Diggy Simmons has been bouncing around the public consciousness for a few years now: The middle son of hip-hop legend Joseph "Rev Run" Simmons, he appeared on the MTV show "Run's House," before picking up a mic himself. But Diggy worked the proving ground like everyone else, dropping free mixtapes and a few videos, which ultimately scored him a deal with Atlantic and plenty of mentions on artists-to-watch lists (including Billboard's own in 2011).
So, after several years of build-up, there's plenty of buzz and anticipation for "Unexpected Arrival" - and Diggy seems up for that challenge. One can hear the work Diggy's put into his rapping over the past few years in the energy and passion that dominates the record. His subject matter is pretty consistent -- girls; some cars; living well; anti-hating -- but for the most part, he's beefed up his rhyming chops to add his own flare to it. Produced primarily by D'Mile, the record, with plenty of lush synths and 808 drum hits, has a nice pop-rap cohesiveness to it, and it's easy to find yourself nodding along.
Which songs on Diggy's "Unexpected Arrival" are worth a few replays? Check out our track-by-track breakdown of the rapper's debut album.
1. "The Arrival (Intro)" -- Things get inspirational right off the bat with some hopeful preaching over distant piano, which is soon overwhelmed by orchestral things. The lights fade up, and the crowd cheers.
2. "Hello World" -- It's mission statement time, with Diggy making big proclamations over an even bigger beat. This is the anthem Diggy fans have been waiting for.
3. "I Need to Know" -- Diggy mulls the dark sides of fame -- specifically the age-old question of loyalty -- over skittish drums and layers of dissonant synths. Such is life in post-Drake America.
4. "88" -- This beat bangs. That bass line just grabs the listener by the gut, and the rat-tat-tat snares hit at all the right spots. It's old school for the new school, complete with a processed "Dead Presidents II" sample.
5. "Two Up" -- Diggy opts for a laid-back flow over a shimmering beat. Not a whole lot of memorable lines though - the young rapper might have gotten too comfortable on this one.
6. "Unforgiveable Blackness" - An ambitious attempt to tackle the immensely complex issue of classism in black culture in four minutes falls flat, with political platitudes and paradoxical posturing.
7. "Special Occasions" -- Diggy shows off the braggadocio over a woozy, R&B-tinged beat, while Tank provides the baritone chorus. Highlights include a mindboggling A.C. Slater reference and curious use of the words Saddam and Gomorrah.
8. "Glow In The Dark" -- With twinkling synths that strike like laser beams, Diggy stands alone --he has transcended into the world of the stars, now a beacon that radiates brilliantly, infinitely.
9. "4 Letter Word" -- What hath "Take Care" wrought?!
10. "Do It Like You" -- That's two in a row for the ladies. Looking for pop gold, Diggy spits suave compliments over sugar-rushed synths and bubblegum snap snares, and Jeremih swoops in with the Auto-Tuned chorus.
11. "Tom Edison" -- Assertions of skill and name-drops (the Bob Costas one is pretty solid) abound over a pumping beat accented with piano flourishes. Hashtag rap has reached its apotheosis: I'm out for dead inventors to represent me.
12. "The Reign" -- One last display of greatness, one last brush-off to the haters, one last kiss to the girls, one last chance to get out your best punchline or dirtiest pun (check on the latter), and don't forget the thank you's or to let them forget that this is only the beginning.