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.