Album Review — 23 March 2012
Album Review: Diggy Simmons – Unexpected Arrival (Double Take)

By Ahmad Awadallah

Unexpected Arrival is the ideal name for Diggy Simmons’s debut album. The kid came out of nowhere and completely outshined his brother, who has been grinding with his crew of lames for a few years. In a family of legends, the pressure was on for the next generation to run with the Simmons torch and it sure wasn’t going to be Run’s reckless daughters or his fluke of a son JoJo, but rather the black sheep Diggy. Everyone can hate on him for lamping in a bed on money, being the son of rap royalty, having a Rolls-Royce in the front of the house and having an uncle who was Jay-Z’s boss, but there is no denying the kid can spit some heat. It was definitely one of the most anticipated albums of the year and while the album isn’t spectacular, classic or horrible, it isn’t quite disposable.

Some nicely-knitted spoken word opens up the LP on “The Arrival.” Even though Diggy isn’t the one spewing poetry, the words are genuine and reiterate the theme of effort, which eliminates any presumed perceptions.  “Hello World” packs the perfect amount of Rock N’ Roll and soul as gentle piano keys clash wonderfully with an imperious drum pattern. His first verse is kind of bland, but really shows his metaphor game and grown man mentality, despite being in his teens, on the next verse.

Dig continues flame throwing over the sleek synth  of “Need To Know.” The track is the first of many which features mediocre R&B, despite this joint being bearable. Surprisingly, the kid is aware of the pitfalls and traps in the game laid down by organ-blowing groupies and bloodsucking industry execs.

Thankfully, Dig’s exceptional pen game saves “Two Up” from being an immense disaster. The production is mix of blasé elevator music blended with a peculiar drum arrangement and even though Diggy comes correct, you won’t find yourself hitting repeat anytime soon.

Conceptually, “Unforgivable Blackness” is dope. He rhymes about the social ills in the African-American community and the jealousy and evil that permeates in the hood. Diggy implores the people to rejoice in order to overcome, but the hackneyed R&B crooning is repetitive and overwhelming. The sour singing trend continues on “Special Occasion,” “Glow In The Dark,” “4 Letter Word” and “The Reign” and the constant echoing of the album’s theme becomes mind-numbing.

One would hope Diggy would flaunt his NY pedigree by choosing a few greasy New York beats to rip apart, we all remember him tearing up the “Made You Look” instrumental. Instead, he opted for production catered towards immature teens/college students boning in the name of infatuations/love. His debut album is nothing to wil’ out about,but there are flashes of potential. The Unexpected Arrival definitely has the talent to become a mainstay but there are great expectations to fulfill.

black-thumbs-upblack-thumbs-upblack-thumbshalf 2.75 Out of 5

 

***BONUS REVIEW***

The homie Square One has his own take on Diggy’s Unexpected Arrival as part of our Audiofile Audio review series. Here’s what he thinks of the album

Diggy Simmons Review


 

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