Despite what the album title may suggest, witnessing Diggy Simmons channel his time and energy over the last three years into being an artist is a move that was all but expected. A descendent of Rap royalty, the ambitious 17-year-old now offers up his debut Unexpected Arrival in hopes that he too can join the upper echelons of Hip Hop supremacy.
Lyrically, Diggy is making strides to reach his contemporary idols, with tracks like “Tom Edison” and the Jadakiss-assisted “88,” providing an abundance of clever wordplay. More importantly, his delivery shows no signs of hesitation or reluctance, a flaw often apparent in younger acts. As a result, his solid execution makes you believe he was destined for this (“I hear the hate I don’t sweat it, ‘cause I’m getting that ‘fetti / I see a lot of mad rappers, Deric ‘D-Dot’ Angelettie / Compliments to the chef, your boy out here eatin’ great / Homie you ain’t no umpire, why you watching my plate?”).
Overall production on Unexpected Arrival is melodically impressive, with each arrangement setting the appropriate tone for Diggy’s words. Whether it’s the triumphant introduction of “Hello World” or the serious tone found on “I Need To Know,” Simmons has little trouble capturing his feelings with backdrops tailor-made for the scenario. Likely something he’ll be encountering for years to come, the latter track touches on his life as a cautious celebrity. Whether it be his new flame, thirsty friends or recent acquaintances, Diggy makes it clear that he’s aware of relationship pitfalls that can occur, and its fruitful wisdom that speaks to his maturity.
In that same vein, the biggest issue with Unexpected Arrival and Diggy Simmons as an emcee is that his age and likewise scope of life experiences are limited. We can enjoy the light ambiance of “Special Occasion” or “Two Up,” where Diggy’s rhymes briskly bounce above the radiant production, without feeling ostracized from his journey into stardom. However, his content lacks the intricate layers that allow a listener to connect with him on an intimate level. The best example of this surfaces on “Unforgivable Blackness,” where he boldly attempts to nullify his privileged status in favor for respect. Though admirable, it’s an indistinct track on an album that caters more toward the pop-rap sentiment of “Do It Like You” and “4 Letter Word.”
To Diggy’s credit, Unexpected Arrival plays to his adolescent strengths without hindering his opportunity to build upon his brand as an adult. In due time he will harness the intellect and wherewithal to create records that could make an impact like his father did in the ‘80’s. Until then, telling his story from a young man’s perspective is respectable; in fact, it would be expected.