Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter proclaimed that stars are born. Many recording executives feel that stars are created and curated. So what happens when a prodigy is born with celebrity DNA, but grooms themselves with such artistic passion and determination that their lineage becomes an afterthought? Answer: Daniel “Diggy” Simmons meets his destiny as the champion of rap’s new millennium generation. A boy genius with the pen, the 16-year-old son of Hip-Hop royalty Joseph “Reverend Run” Simmons and nephew of Russell Simmons, has already written himself a two-year career that’s surpassed much of his rookie class.
Having inked a deal with Atlantic Records in March 2010 (post a several-label courting), the Queens, NY native has since headlined his very own tour with Winter 2012’s The Life Of The Jetsetter Tour and co-headlined two previous runs––2011’s 106th & Park Presents: The Closer To My Dreams Tour and The Scream Tour: The Next Generation. As decorated as he is lyrically gifted, Diggy has been bestowed a plethora of kudos from premium brands in media (Billboard’s “Artists To Watch 2011,” XXL’s 2011 annual Freshman list and cover), television (2011 BET Awards “Rookie of The Year” and “Young Star Award” nominee) and culture (2012 NAACP Image Award winner for “Outstanding New Artist.”). Possessing a maturity and polished poise years beyond his ‘90’s baby status,’ Diggy’s comfort in his new fame is just as advanced. “I love making music,” says Diggy. “So because I get attention and praise off of my music rather than anything else, I’m happy.”
The best case made for the embryonic genius of this Hip-Hop Prince can be heard on his debut album Unexpected Arrival. An amazing showcase of what new generation superstar power sounds like; it could easily be labeled a cultural soundtrack for the worldly minds of today’s youth. Offering listeners a smorgasbord of subject matter, the young Jetsetter proves his album title dead-on by mixing motivational speech on cuts like the celebratory “Hello World” and triumphant “Glow In The Dark” with unflinchingly conscious dialogue as heard on “Unforgivable Blackness.” Clearly Diggy’s aim was for his fans to conclude his album better for having listened. “I want to be known as a person who inspired people to become what they aspire to be,” he says. “I wanted to make music that was relatable, that helped people that had an impact on society and culture.”
As inspirational as Unexpected Arrival will prove to be, above all, the album is unequivocally grade-A rap. Diggy possesses an amazingly seasoned delivery pillared by precision, imagination and education. A non-fictional wisdom can be heard on the Jadakiss-featured homage to Hip-Hop’s golden year, “88” (“You know my uncle taught Diddy, who turned around and taught Biggie,” while a Top 5 MC future can be heard on the b-boy treasure that is “Two Up.” Already a successive BET’s 106th & Park countdown champion, Diggy has begun his ascendance on Billboard charts with singles “Copy, Paste,” the Jeremih-featured “Do It Like You,” whose video boasts over 3 million YouTube views, and the most recent love letter to his female base “4-Letter Word.” The rhyme rookie’s effortless ability to simultaneously satisfy rap purists and the opposite sex in the same breath speaks for why he’s already platinum in the sphere of social network (Over 1.2 followers for @diggy_simmons; over 1.1 million Facebook friends). “My fans mean the world to me,” says Diggy. “Since I’m so thankful for them, I tweet them every day. The music is a part of them and they’re a part of me so I can’t wait for them to have this next phase that we’re going into. This is our journey together.”
This young superstar’s story began seven years ago in the limelight of his legendary relatives, co-starring on his family’s hit reality TV show “Run’s House.” Once Diggy uploaded a jaw-dropping freestyle and accompanying video (directed by Phil The God) over Nas’ “Made You Look” instrumental in 2009 (“Flow Stoopid”), his family tree quickly became a mere backdrop. Then came his three stellar mixtapes––2009’s The First Flight (over 100,000 downloads), 2010’s Airborne (it’s “Great Expectations” track was tapped for an AT&T television commercial) and Past Presents and Future (executive produced by DJ Premier)––and the Internet world anointed him next. Now Diggy has arrived and the unexpectedness is rapidly subsiding. The wattage of his self-made star power has his position in the rap game making perfect sense. “Now, when you think of Diggy, you don’t automatically think of Rev. Run & ‘Run’s House,’ you think of a rising hip-hop superstar.”