Diggy Simmons Talks Debut Album, College Plans, Willow Smith Collabo

Guest Editor Diggy Simmons gets real with VIBE about balancing school with music and appreciating his family legacy.

What makes Airborne different from your first mixtape?

Airborne is different because everything down to the production to the lyricism and everything is done on a way higher scale. My work ethic is way more elaborate and thought out and people could tell the progress and it’s something that a lot of people can listen to straight through and relate to.

What’s your creative process?

I’ll get a beat and vibe to it listen and in my head I’ll come up with a concept and then once I come up with a concept I’ll go from there then come up with the hook and then after the hook I’ll come up with the verses, and then go to the to studio and record it. I write my own stuff.

Do you ghostwrite for anyone, too?

[Laughs] No.

You probably get this a lot but from watching the show with your family, granted, you were a lot younger then, but nobody really knew that you were interested in rapping so when did you realize that you wanted to rhyme?

I really started experimenting with it in early ’09. I was just penning rhymes and doing a capella for fun and then I just started doing instrumentals for fun and then after that I discovered Garage Band on my Mac and after that, I released my first track on the internet on YouTube last summer and then after that, I said I want to do a mixtape and that’s how the first flight came about and in that process I realized that I genuinely love doing music, wanted to express myself through music and that I wanted to do this and to see how far I can take it and to see if I have longevity with it so I decided to keep going.

So your fam had no clue? You just locked yourself in your room doing it?

Yeah, as far as doing the a capellas and stuff, when I was doing First Flight, when I was in the studio in the basement, they wouldn’t really come around. They knew that I was doing tracks and stuff and that I was working on something called a mixtape but they didn’t necessarily really know how I was gonna go about putting it out or anything.

How do you balance school with your music career?

I start school back up on Monday and it’s usually from, like,10 to 3. It’s an easy balance. We usually just put everything around school because it’s really important. And anything musically, careerwise, is really important and maybe we’ll put it aside for the day but I always catch up like any other student would if they had to be out of school for something. So, it’s a great balance and I get all my work done by the end of the year and in time.

Do you want to go to college?

Yeah. Even though I can take this far, I think I’d want to do college courses over the internet.

What would you study?

Before I got really serious about music, I had aspirations about going to college and FIT to study fashion so I haven’t really thought about it since I started music but it could be fashion or it could be anything else but I’m thinking fashion as I’m talking about it now.

What are your overall career goals with anything that you do?

I just want to do everything just like, as big as anybody can ever do it⎯like a Jay-Z or a Kanye. I want to take hip-hop to a different level that’s past hip-hop where you can see it as music and make people think about this genre in a different way so I just want to take the culture of hip-hop to a new level.

How does your family legacy help or hurt your success?

I wouldn’t say it hurts it because then that would be me feeding into the negative stuff that people say, who just go off of who I am and don’t really listen to my music so I wouldn’t think it hurts it. Does it help it? Yeah, being that I grew up the way I did, even though I put in the grind by myself, coming from doing the show and everything, people recognized it so it’s not like I did it completely on my own. It definitely did help because people did look because of that reason. Coming from my dad and being on the show, it was helpful.

What’s up with your debut album?

My debut album is something that I’m about to start working on very soon. I started talking with Atlantic about it. They wanted et to start as soon as I got signed but they knew I had aspirations to do a second tape so they let me go into that and gave me the time for that but that’s something that I’m going to start working on soon.

Is it official that you’ll be working with Willow?

I can’t really say but I can say that it can possibly happen.

What do you bring to the game that’s different?

I think my content and my sound. As far as content goes that’s just me being myself. I don’t have to talk about the things that everybody talks about to be popular or to have the fan base that I do. People just enjoy the things that I talk about and the fact that they can relate and they just like vibing to the feeling and the fact that it’s all me, that’s what makes me different.

From the Web

More on Vibe


John Boyega Delivers Powerful Speech At Black Lives Matter Rally In London

John Boyega delivered a powerful and moving speech during a Black Lives Matter rally in London on Wednesday (June 3).

“I wanna’ thank every single one of you for coming out this is very important, this is very vital. Black lives have always mattered,” the 28-year-old Star Wars actor said to a cheering crowd. “We have always been important. We have always meant something. We have always succeeded regardless, and now is the time. I ain’t waiting.

Boyega called out detractors for trying to derail the peaceful protest before sharing his feelings on the recent incidents of police brutality and white supremacist violence that have fueled recent uprisings. “I need you guys to understand how painful this s**t is! How painful it is to be reminded every day that your race means nothing, [but] that isn’t that case anymore. We are a physical representation of our support for George Floyd. We are a physical representation of our support for Sandra Bland, for Trayvon Martin, for Steven Lawrence, for Mark Dugan.”

In another emotional moment, Boyega addressed Black men. “We need to take care of our Black women. They are our hearts,” he said through tears. “They are our future. We cannot demonize our own. We are the pillars of the family. Imagine this: a nation that is set up with individual families that are thriving, that are healthy, that communicate, that raise their children in love, [that] have a better rate of becoming better human beings and that’s what we need to create. Black men, it starts with you.”

Watch the full speech below.

Continue Reading
MICHAEL B. THOMAS/AFP via Getty Images

Ferguson Elects Ella Jones As City’s First Black Mayor

Ella Jones became Ferguson’s first Black mayor following Tuesday’s (June 2) election. Winning 59.9% percent of the vote, Jones beat out opponent and fellow Ferguson City Councilwoman Heather Robinett. The victory also makes Jones the city’s first female mayor.

“It’s just our time,” Jones, 65, said in a post-election interview with the St. Louis Dispatch. “It’s just my time to do right by the people.”

Ferguson gained worldwide attention in 2014 after Ferguson police shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown, and the fight for justice hasn't stopped. Most recently, residents took to the streets amid the coronavirus pandemic to protest the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other police brutality victims.

“In the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic, our restaurants, our businesses were closed, and now they were trying to open up and we have the protests, so it set a lot of businesses back,” she told the St. Louis American. “So, I am just reaching out to various partners to see how we can best help these businesses recover from the protests and open. We don’t want to lose any of our businesses, because they are the cornerstone of our community, and when we lose one, it just hurts all. My goal is to work, talk to anyone that will listen, to help stabilize these businesses in Ferguson.”

Jones previously ran for mayor in 2017 but lost to incumbent James Knowles III, who served as mayor for three terms.

The former pastor has called Ferguson home for more than 40 years. A graduate from the University of Missouri at St. Louis with a degree in chemistry, Jones obtained a certification a high pressure liquid chromatographer and completed training as a pharmacy technician. Jones' background includes working in Washington University School of Medicine's biochemistry molecular bio-physics department, and as an analytical chemist for KV Pharmaceutical Company, as well as a Mary Kay, where she was a sales director for 30 years before quitting to work in the community full time.

Jones is also the founder and chairperson of the nonprofit community development organization, Community Forward, Inc., and a member of the Boards of the Emerson Family YMCA, and the St. Louis MetroMarket, the latter of which is a decommissioned bus that was retrofitted as a mobile farmers’ market that provides fresh fruits and vegetables to underserved communities.

Hear more from Jones in the video below.

Continue Reading
Getty Images

Barack Obama Discusses Racism And Police Reform During Virtual Town Hall

Former President Barack Obama joined local and national leaders for a digital town hall on Wednesday (June 3). The 90-minute event put on by the Obama Foundation's My Brother's Keeper Alliance was centered around “reimagining policing in the wake of continued violence.”

“Let me start by just acknowledging that we have seen, in the last few months, the kinds of epic changes and events in our country that are as profound as anything that I’ve seen in my life,” said Obama. “Although all of us have been feeling pain and certain disruption, some folks have been feeling it more than others. Most of all the pain that’s been experienced by the families [of] George [Floyd], Breonna [Taylor], Ahmaud [Arbury], Tony [McDade], Sean [Reade], and too many others to mention.”

To the families directly affected by racial violence and police brutality Obama added, “Please know that Michelle and I, and the nation grieve with you, hold you in our prayers. We're committed to the fight of creating a more just nation in the memory of your sons and daughters.”

The ex-commander in chief went on to speak about institutional racism, and what he believes to be the bright side to the recent tragedies, namely in that young people have been galvanized and mobilized into taking action. “Historically so much of the progress that we’ve made in our society [have] been because of young people. Dr. King was a young man, Ceasar Chavez was a young man, Malcolm X was a young man. The leaders of the feminist movement, union movements, the environmentalist movements, and the movement to make sure that the LGBTQ community had a voice, were young people.”

Obama also addressed the “young men and women of color” around the country, who have witnessed too much violence and death. “I want you to know that you matter. I want you to know that your lives matter. That your dreams matter.”

Other town hall participants included, activist and writer Brittany Packnett Cunningham, former Attorney General Eric Holder Jr., Color of Change President Rashad Robinson and Playon Patrick, Ohio State University student and MBK Youth leader for the city of Columbus.

Additional town hall participants included, activist and writer Brittany Packnett Cunningham, former Attorney General Eric Holder Jr., Color of Change President Rashad Robinson and Playon Patrick, Ohio State University student and MBK Youth leader for the city of Columbus.

Watch the full event below.

Continue Reading

Top Stories