Review Summary: This debut is a good effort from a 14-year-old. But the question is: is it good by normal standards? The answer is close, but only because of his AWFUL voice.
Daniel Simmons III, born March 21, 1995, is used to the attention. Being the son of American rapper Reverend Run of Run DMC, the co-star of MTV reality show ‘Run’s House’ since October 2005, and nephew of Def Jam co-founder Kevin Simmons, Daniel – nicknamed “Diggy” – has been the perfect example of a child star. Now, aspiring to be a big name rapper, Diggy releases The First Flight, his debut mixtape. With musical figures such as his father, his brother JoJo, and his uncle in his life, Diggy has the connections and teachers, but does he have the skill?
For a 14-year-old, Diggy is pretty gifted lyrically. This is surprising because today’s hip-hop youth often succumb to mainstream, pop-ish songs and the swag-skateboarding movement. For the main part, Diggy has avoided that trend. But that’s inevitable, because as an upper class teen, he’s not gonna be a gangsta. And while he’s not a lyrical guru, he knows how to deliver a punchline and string along some good rhymes throughout the course of a song – “I’m talking bout that cheddar cheese/I’m talking bout that money/And it runs in the family/I’m higher than reindeers where Santa be.” However, on occasion, he is shallow lyrically, as witnessed in the repetitive, self-worshipping anthem Like a Star (but to the contrary, the astonishing depth of The Truth of Me makes up for this) Also, some of his concepts are pretty stupid, for example, on Make You Mine, he’s discussing middle school love, a stupid subject which is narrowed to a small group of rap listeners – the ones that aren’t on DatPiff. Diggy isn’t perfect lyrically, but he surpasses most teenage rappers.
Unlike most rappers, Diggy’s enunciation and pronunciation is good, but that’s to be expected as he wasn’t raised up in the projects and wasn’t subject to the language of ghetto ebonics. His flow is pretty good, as he took the time to realize it’s better to modify your flow to fit the beat. The spacious synths, and cosmic feel to Hu$tle Simmons are complimented by his spaced-out rapping and he times his flow perfectly to the up-tempo kicks/snares/bass beat of We Have a Problem. Throughout the album, he consistently does a good job of matching his flow to the generally abstract, synthy beats. But the combination of his AWFUL, prepubescent voice and the disgusting technology known as autotune is piercing to the ears, and greatly detrimental to his songs.
All in all, Diggy is talented, and he COULD be a future legend with hard work, maturation, and testosterone. All of this will come with time, for now though, we just have to wait and keep an eye on the teenage prodigy. Because, for now, I cannot stand his voice.