On paper, the prospect of an album from Diggy Simmons – the son of Rev. Run – seems like a big “no thank you”. Good looking kid rapper? Check. Born into money? Check. Skills…? Skills..? SKILLS??? Yes…..check. Yes, Run raised him right, as the young emcee definitely holds his own, as he first caught our attention two years back when he freestyled over Nas’ “Made You Look” on YouTube. But in today’s era of MTV reality shows and overnight success stories, how does Diggy’s debut, Unexpected Arrival fare?
Unfortunately, Diggy had a rough entry out the gate, with a lackluster first week in sales – still with under 50,000 copies sold to date – making him no Justin Beiber at the Billboard box office. It’s clear that bigger things were expected for young Diggy’s career, as much of the album presents him in a much softer light than presented on the mixtape scene. The album does start off on a more raw tip, with the grungy “Hello World” acting as a fitting introduction to the promising new emcee, or the abrasive “88″ with Jadakiss, which bangs with reckless abandon.
Midway through, the album ventures in more soulful territory, on tracks like “Two Up” or “Unforgivable Blackness”, both honest attempts at making music with substance. However as the album progresses, things get more syrupy, such as on “Special Occasion” – a dope track despite Tank’s overcooked hook – or “Glow In The Dark”, which suffers the same fate. The extended metaphor love-song “4 Letter Word” doesn’t achieve it’s desired effect, and by the time the otherwise tolerable “Do It Like You” (feat. Jeremih) hits, the album has already assaulted the listener with too many R&B hooks.
Judging from his single, Diggy wants to “bring ’88 back”, so to speak, but it’s clear he also wants to be some kind of teen heartthrob. Unexpected Arrival is overall an honest LP and a fair effort, but it’s clear that Diggy is still young, trying to find his identity. Despite a rocky debut, we expect good things from him in the future.
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