Russell Simmons’ Music Biz Advice To Nephew Diggy: ‘Stay on your grind’

Movies & TV

Diggy’s a good Christian kid, so there’s no Yoga philosophy that I could share with him that he hasn’t been told a hundred times, it’s all the same. Actually, he’s not interested in my advice. He’s like every kid—he wants to make his own way. But the advice I would give Diggy if he ‘would’ listen? Be present and there’s no reward except the gift itself. In other words, you ain’t gonna get paid. You got everything you need, you got cable. [The record biz] can’t give you s*&%. You got everything and you’ve got to operate from that place. What are you gonna get a car, then you’re gonna get a big head? Really, what can they give you? If you continue to know that the gift is the poetry itself then you’ll be all right. If you separate from that and start to think now you’re a rap star that’s when things will change.

What happens usually after an artist becomes a ‘rap star’ is there’s a short moment where there’s disappointment in the results, because the begin to feel like there’s no real payment. They’re like, ‘Damn I got a car, I got all this money and I’m not as excited about doing my work—which was the fun part. So I kinda move away from my work and I move away from my happiness and then I start getting gangsta or whatever. And now I can risk my life because my life doesn’t mean as much.’ So they run thru a bit of sadness. The thinking is I thought if I got a car I’d be happier, instead you’re less happy. We start to treasure the results of the work instead of the work itself. So my advice would be Diggy stay on your grind and enjoy the work. 

Joey [Rev Run] tells a story about being in a tub and getting haircut and the hair was falling in the pancakes he eating while he was smoking a joint and he was waiting for the phone to ring for some girl to call. He was in the biggest hotel room, at one of the best hotels, with the Rolls Royce outside and he was really sick. But if he had been in that tub writing a song and that was his real focus, all the other stuff would have been nothing because it’s already nothing. That’s what Joey believed and it made him very sad— a great number of rappers go through this suffering because they get ‘paid.’ They get these results that they think are so big. I’ll tell Diggy all that. But he’s heard his father [Rev Run] preach, that’s his father’s rap. Kids have got to learn on their own. But Diggy, he’s a good kid. He has good things instilled in him so he’ll be all right. —As told to Ronke Idowu Reeves

Peaked your interest as to how Russell Simmons keeps his successful Simmons empire afloat? Be sure to tune into his new reality series, Running Russell Simmons to see how stays on ‘his’ grind. It premieres Tuesday, November 2nd at 10pm ET/PT on Oxygen.