It was early last year that Diggy Simmons was finally introduced to music scene. Not as the little outspoken boy from MTV’s Run’s House or as the nephew of hip-hop/fashion mogul, Russell Simmons, but as Diggy, one of the newest & young contenders in the rap game. On March 11, 2010, Simmons dropped his very first music video “Made You Look Freestyle (Flow Stoopid)” – a Phil the God-directed clip where the then 15 year-old, confidently served dope lyrics over the instrumental beat of Nas’s 2003 single, “Made You Look”. (WATCH HERE)
Now at the young age of 16, he has already released three mixtapes (The First Flight, Past, Present, Future & Airborne), appeared in a television commercials for AT&T and started his very own shoe line, Chivalrous Culture.
CL contributor Christine Imarenezor had the opportunity to sit down and chat with the teenage heartthrob about his forthcoming, untitled debut album, what it was like to perform his single, “Copy, Paste” for the first time on national television, whether he see himself going back to reality TV as well as his future career and life aspirations.
Watch: Diggy Talks Music, 1st Time performing at BET Awards and Reality TV (Part 1)
TO VIEW FULL TRANSCRIPT OF THE INTERVIEW KEEP READING BELOW.
Christine: So when was the exact moment that you knew you wanted to start rapping?
Diggy: In late 08, early 09, is when I just started penning things, cause I had a lot on my chest and a lot of experiences, just things that I wanted to get out of me. So it was just me writing and penning things down. And that lead to me putting out my first mixtape in December of 09. So that’s when it happened. And that’s when I started taking it more seriously. So it wasn’t a thing where I was like ‘I want to be a rapper that makes and album and puts out a single.’ It wasn’t really like that. It was me just having the intention of making music and having fun.
Christine: So now that you’re a rapper, do you feel like you have big shoes to fill because your father was a part of one of the most influential hip hop groups?
Diggy: No, not at all. Just for the fact that I’m me and my own person. That’s what my music is about, you know? It’s about me. So, no, not at all. I don’t really focus on it.
Christine: So your latest single is “Copy, Paste” and you performed that on the B.E.T. Awards in June 2011. Were you nervous? How did it feel?
Diggy: You don’t know how nervous I was though. Cause my thing is when I’m nervous for like a show, I’m quiet, and inside of me I’m just screaming and just going nuts. I was just sitting in my trailer and I was just like, in my head, ‘Why am I doing this?’ I was so — I wasn’t scared. I was nervous and the butterflies were crazy.
Christine: So tell us about your upcoming album. First of all, what’s the title of the album?
Diggy: I can’t say yet. It’s going to be released soon. It definitely fits where people see me right now and where I’m at. It’s the perfect first album title, but it’s incredible. I’m so proud of it. It’s been everything and more I wanted my first album to be. I wanted it to be a classic in my eyes and hopefully to everybody else’s and I feel as though I’m there. And it’s almost finished. I’ve been working on it since the top of the year in January. So it’s incredible.
Christine: What are people going to expect with the album?
Diggy:It’s just feel good music. Not all of it, but it just feels good and all of it just fits together sonically. And with the message and everything, it’s not just hip hop. It’s for everybody really. I feel like a whole lot of people besides hip hop (lovers) are just going to relate to it and just love it. And I’m just beyond excited for people to hear it. It’s just real good music.
Christine: So you’re going to be on the Scream Tour with Mindless Behavior and Hamilton Park starting September 30th. Who else would you love to tour with one day?
It’d be cool to tour with Kanye. That would be dope. He’s an incredible performer. His performance and just his energy and everything definitely inspires me. So it would be dope to work with Kanye one day.
Christine: Most people remember you from, Run’s House. Do you think you’ll ever go back to reality television?
Diggy: Probably not.
Christine: Why not?
Diggy: I don’t care for it, so probably not. But it was a cool experience. It was what it was, but probably not.
Watch: Diggy Shares Future Plans, Dating & Jetsetters (Part 2)
Christine: I remember one episode where you were asking Uncle Russell to help you launch your clothing line, but it turns out you started a shoe line. Can you tell us more about that?
Diggy: How that came about…a distribution company called Vita – they approached me and said they wanted to do a sneaker line with me. I went ahead and I did it, and intentionally I didnt have any thoughts to do a sneaker line or anything. I always wanted to do clothing, but I love sneakers. So it was easy and as soon as they asked me, a whole lot of ideas started coming and right now it’s on their site at chivculture.com but in like in 5 color waves, but it’s about to be in stores real soon.
Christine: So where do you see yourself in two years?
Diggy: Hopefully, I’ll have embarked on my first arena tour already. Hopefully prestigious awards – AMAs, Grammys, crazy magazine covers, just a whole lot of things and goals that I want to reach.
Christine: Do you think you’ll want to do anything outside of music and fashion, say college?
Diggy: Definitely. Since I’ll be on the road a lot, I definitely have aspirations to do the college thing online. I think that’s important.
Christine: What would you study?
Diggy: I’ve always wanted to study, like before I got really into rapping and music, I was going to take fashion design really seriously. So maybe I’ll take that up since I still have aspirations to do a clothing line and just study that closely. Because a lot of the time, people just put a clothing line together just to have one, but I’m really hands-on with even my sneaker line. So maybe that or maybe something else that I’m interested in.
Christine: So Nicki Minaj calls her followers Barbies. Rihanna calls her followers RihannaNavy. Why do you call your followers Jetsetters?
Diggy: A lot of the time, people will take the term literally. It’s just about you being yourself and you just going to your own heights and not worrying about what other people think. Because a lot of the time with younger people and even older people, too, they’ll get trapped in wanting to do things like other people to fit in or doing things that are out of their character to be like somebody else and I don’t believe in that. I believe in originality. So that’s why I call them my Jetsetters. They’re also my supporters, too.
Christine: Speaking of your Twitter followers, one of your fans @lovejasmyn_ wants to know: ‘Are you single?’
Diggy: *does a little dance* Yeah, I’m singlllle. Very single.
Christine: Now we’re going to play a little game of CL’s This or That. I’ll say a phrase and you say the first thing that comes to mind or I’ll name two things and you choose one. Ready?
Christine: Who’s your favorite celebrity crush?
Diggy: Rihanna. That’s my girl.
Christine: Favorite song on Watch the Throne?
Diggy: “New Day.”
Christine: Angela or Vanessa?
Diggy: Both. *smiles*
Christine: New York or Los Angeles?
Christine: And finally, in memory of Aaliyah, what’s your favorite song by her?
Diggy: “Four Page Letter.”
Christine: Alright! Anything you want to tell your Jetsetters:
Diggy: I love you guys to death. Thank you so much for supporting me and being here for me and just really believing in me and being patient on this album. I appreciate you guys so much. I literally do it all for you guys so thank you.
Watch: Diggy Plays CL’s “This & That”, Answers Random Questions (Part 3)