In the May 2000 issue of The Source magazine, I wrote the review for Rah Digga’s debut album, Dirty Harriet. I opened the review by stating that growing up as a little boy, if someone uttered the statement, “Hey! You throw like a girl” it was to be considered a straight up diss. Then just as now in today’s current climate of Hip Hop with far too many posturing male emcees claiming originality that’s reticent, how fortunate would they actually be if someone said to them, “Hey you rhyme like a girl!”…especially if that girl’s name, excuse me – if that woman’s name is Rah Digga. With a resume that’s encapsulated by verses on the multi-platinum-selling Fugees sophomore album, The Score and the title of Flipmode Squad’s “First Lady,” for far top many male emcees, being told that you rhyme like a girl would be considered a major step up. The lady with a commanding delivery, vibrant vocal clarity, punchlines and a deep, rich voice is back after 10 winters.
“This Ain’t No Lil’ Kid Rap” reveals a real lyricist who just also happens to be a female to bless the game with what it has been missing. Over hard snares and nasty tops and bottoms, Rah Digga flexes her lyrical prowess. The message is simple: don’t speak when grown folks are speakin’ and Rah Digga is definitely a grown-ass woman, she ain’t a lil’ kid. The Outsidaz alum who took time off to be a mother to her child, lost no luster in her braggadocio style. Digga possesses the type of pen game that most rappers would be afraid. As you listen to her spit it’s more than obvious that the she never stopped writing songs and verses. “The Book Of Rashia” is a track possessed with Gothic musical accompaniment and instrumentation. Digga’s commanding flow shows that a sleeping giant has been awoken and the New Jersey native born Rashia is doing exactly what she was meant to be doing with sheer skill and confidence. Like her debut album, Classic keeps guest appearances to a minimum. Linking back up with, Dirty Harriet producer Nottz, the duo works together uncompromisingly to masterfully carry the whole album.
“Who Gonna Check Me Boo” is aimed directly at the heart off true Hip Hop lovers. If current emcees’ musical offerings are clogging up your arteries and raising your levels of bad-Rap cholesterol, then the team of Nottz and Digga offer you classic crisp production and raw, polyunsaturated Hip Hop. Amidst hard snares, organ sounding keys, whistles, and video game laser shot noises; Digga poses the question, “Who’s Gonna Check Me Boo?” and then confidently responds, “Not ‘chu!” This is simple, but effective. Rah Digga’s confidence has always enhanced her appeal.
The title track, “Classic” is a Rock-inspired joint accented by early Sunday morning church organs. The track is caressed by a Rah Digga lyrical onslaught that will have you pressing rewind to hear that classic line that she just said, one more time. On, “Viral” Digga rips dudes and kills chicks, while “Straight Spittin’ IV” is nothing but energy and a barrage of lyrical fury as Digga notes that she’ll probably be spittin’ till the day she meets her maker. Despite her plans for infinite rhymes, Digga doesn’t overdo it on Classic. The 11-track sophomore album is just a bit over half an hour long, keeping it both concise, but also a bit abrupt after so much time away. Moreover, like many golden era disciples, Digga struggles at times for subject matter more than her abilities, her views of the culture’s stagnation, and firing warning shots on violators.
After 10 years of waiting, Rah Digga proves she is a veteran who can stand alone – in her class as well as on the microphone. Classic manages to mesh the best elements of the year 2000s Hip Hop with the highlights of the musical trends of today. When she burst on the scene in the late ’90s, Rah Digga countered a burgeoning trend of female representation in Rap. Nearly 15 years in, she’s still a Rap role model standing tall.