Daniel “Diggy” Simmons has been on a mission. The son of one of Hip Hop’s legends, Rev Run, Diggy Simmons seems intent on making a name for himself – and with a new mixtape, clothing and shoe line coming out shortly, it’s hard to believe this young entrepreneur is still only 14 years old.
“I’ve been rapping since I was about six but I only really got back into it last year, just writing about the things I go through and my experiences,” he tells SoulCulture. Diggy continued writing and recording through to his teens and finally released his mixtape, The First Flight, on December 2nd last year.
Though he may be younger than most rappers, Diggy undoubtedly wanted to bring something different and totally unexpected to the table with his mixtape. On ‘Point To Prove’, Diggy takes the opportunity to address some of the preconceived ideas people may have had of him. “You know they said I was born with a gold spoon in my mouth, right? Well actually, it was platinum. But the real point is, I didn’t plan on this type of life, I didn’t ask for this, honestly. But something I can plan on is wanting to be myself,” he begins.
“You probably seen me on TV, life’s so easy, but what is it even like to be me?
People jumping to conclusions, my own name is what I’m proving,
My independent movement, no allusion.”
The young rapper is far from shy in his approach and manages to hold his own from track to track, remaining honest about his life and normal situations you’d expect from a teenager like himself. “I just really basically want to prove my point,” he says, “especially for a lot of people who just have false accusations of me and who I am. I just wanted to talk about the things I go through, everything that inspires me from girls to personal life experiences. ”
Of course music is also a big inspiration and Andre 3000, Talib Kweli and Mos Def are just some of the rappers he highly respects and is inspired by, referring to them as ‘lyrical poets’ he’d one day like to work with in the future. Diggy is also inspired by a variety of genres beyond Hip Hop, he adds, “I’m really open to other kinds of music as well like the Arctic Monkeys, MGMT and Coldplay; I think it’s important to not be too closed minded.”
Diggy also has nothing but good things to say about the collaborations on the mixtape, mainly produced by up and coming Hip Hop producers Black The Beast and Young Jerz and a lot of young, less known talent who were also friends of Diggys. “All the people were just talented young people that I knew so it was great to have them on the mixtape with me.”
But music isn’t the only thing Diggy is passionate about and if you’ve seen him on the family reality show Runs House, you’ll know Diggy also has a passion for fashion and has been working on a clothing and sneaker line. Not the first in his family to venture out on the entrepreneurial road, Diggy joins his older sisters Angela and Vanessa who have their own kicks line and reality television series. Diggy founded the Young Crafters movement with friends Jovany Perez and Lyna Zerrouki; who call themselves ‘three young fashion tastemakers’ with a shared interest in fashion from a more youthful perspective.
Although Diggy wants to remain secretive about his plans for his label and fashion lines, he does reveal that his sneaker line, called “Chivalrous Culture” is scheduled to come out in August/September this year. He is also very inspired by Pharrell Williams and fashion designer Nego’s label the Billionaire Boys Club, Louis Vuiton and Ralph Lauren and explains how a lot of his style and label has been influenced by fashion designer Antonio Azzuolo. “I really like their work and it’s just something I grown up around,” he says. “I think I’ve always been stubborn about what I wear and it’s the same thing with music and fashion, it’s just something that I love to do.”
Diggy shows a great amount of maturity and focus in his approach to his music and fashion label but when his not busy with business he still finds time to be a normal teenager, playing basketball with friends and education remains a big part of his life, as he is homeschooled. It may seem like a lot to juggle but Diggy is determined to make a name for himself in his own right in the near future and is definitely one kid to watch out for.
Photography by J. Shotti for GLMJS photography. View more of his excellent work at www.jshotti.com
Extra: Fashion heads might also be interested in Complex’s ‘How To Dress Like Diggy Simmons‘ feature.