Diggy Simmons is the 17-year-old son of the famous rapper “Run” from Run-D.M.C. When he was 14, Diggy decided to start working on his own music, and has now released his first album. Our own Marie Morreale got to talk with him about his music, his goals, and what it’s like to be rap royalty.
How would you describe yourself?
Diggy: I’m a person who wants to make a positive impact on people and culture.
Q: What was the release party for your album like?
Diggy: It was incredible. It was so much adrenaline and great feelings. And then I had to perform these brand new songs for my fans mixed with the old songs. It’s like our album and this is our journey. It’s like. . .being all the way from 2009 until now, it’s just like really crazy. It was actually on my birthday March 21st. I’m thankful. That I have the attention of so many people keeps me so humbled and thankful. I don’t take it for granted for one second. You know, I’m always just living in the moment and smelling those roses and looking around.
Q: Did your famous father encourage you to go into the music business?
Diggy: Honestly in my family, they encourage us to do whatever we want, and for me personally, I don’t feel like I’m really carrying on the legacy even if people think so. I would be doing this even if my dad wasn’t who he was. I started writing my raps in like late ’08, early ’09, and it just came from a genuine place. I didn’t want anybody to know. My intentions weren’t for anybody to hear it. It was just about my own expression, and then that escalated to me loving it so much that I was like, “Yea, this is what I want to do with my life.” That was the way I wanted to express myself. Like mostly where it came from was people’s preconceived notions of the type of person who I was, things that I went through in middle school with friends. So it was a period in my life where I felt a lot of different things, and at the same time, I wanted to be my own individual. So it was just like, “I have so much to get out.” This is something that I want to give the world because I feel as though people can enjoy this and relate.
Q: Did your dad help you with your music?
Diggy: For me it was really about not putting him in it. It was about letting my music speak for itself, opposed to being like, “Hey dad, can you bring me to a label? I want to be a famous rapper now.” So, I was like, “I’m going to take this into my own hands to do it by myself, put my music on the internet.” He would hear the songs the same time as everybody else. You know, it would get posted on all these blogs, and people started embracing me, slowly but surely, and that’s how I got signed. Now he can’t keep himself off Twitter, saying how proud he is. [Laughter]
Q: Do you think school is important too?
Diggy: Definitely. Definitely, and that’s what it’s about, just paying attention in school. Right now you may feel like you want to do whatever you want, but later on in life when you really want to be able to do whatever you want, you won’t be able to if you don’t pay attention and really, really take your education seriously. Everything that you’re learning from kindergarten all the way to college, like applying to jobs and knowing how to speak to people, and know how people are and the way they’re going to react. . . You read books and it shows you so many different emotions and the way people do different things, and it also teaches you life skills, like all types of different things that you learn in school. So it’s important to really pay attention.
Q: What music are you listening to now?
Diggy: I love Kanye West. He’s somebody who’s influenced me. I love his story and the way he is creatively very spontaneous, very “it doesn’t matter.” I feel like that’s just how kids should be – not trying to look at what can make them accepted, you know?
Q: What’s your most unusual talent?
Diggy: Um, I can wiggle my ears without using my hands. [Laughter]
Q: Who is your celebrity crush?
Diggy: Rihanna. I love her style. She looks like she’s having fun, which is the point. She knows herself and that’s really, really important.
Q: How would you describe your perfect day?
Diggy: I love to perform, so a performance at night would be great. And then it could be anything else really, anything that has to do with this, what I’m doing. I love it. And if I could be around my family it would be cool too, all in the day. I have two older sisters, an older brother, younger brother, and a younger sister too. I love them. Miley, my little [4-year-old] sister – she doesn’t like it at all [when Diggy is away]. It makes her sad. It does. Miley said to my mom, “When’s Diggy going to stop doing shows?” and my mom said, “They’re going to want him to keep doing them because they like when he does them.” It’s sad. It’s sad.
Q: Do you have a motto that you live your life by?
Diggy: The first time I ever heard it was when I was in kindergarten and I had a spelling test. My mom said, “Do your best and forget the rest.” That applies to life in the most amazing way – young, old, any age.
Q: What’s the best advice your dad gave you?
Diggy: My dad is about going out and just being yourself and just knocking the world dead with whatever you want to do and not worrying about other people. That’s a lot what my family is about, just being genuine and being the person you are, and not letting anybody else tell you differently. You know, it’s up to you, not them. Who is anybody to tell you what you’re not?
That is awesome advice!
Interview by Marie Morreale