"Hottest Breakthrough MC of 2010" Candidate: Diggy Simmons
Diggy Simmons has been around hip-hop his whole life, but the past several months have been the most pivotal for the 15-year-old. His nomination for Hottest Breakthrough MC of 2010 was one of the easiest decisions. Heavy Internet following: check. Acclaimed mixtape (First Flight): check. Star quality — a fashion sense that mixes young-boy fresh and grown-man sophistication, charismatic and energetic performances, humble heartthrob demeanor off the mic — check. He also has something no one else in his 2010 Breakthrough peer group does: the legendary lineage.
Still, Diggy doesn't have to rely on the fact that his father, Run-DMC's Reverend Run, is one third of the greatest hip-hop group of all-time, or his uncle is one of the genre's most heralded executives (Russell Simmons). The teenager is ready to put in work to solidify his spot.
"For real though, I wanna thank MTV for even keeping me in mind for such a title," he said on his blog, Life of a Jet Setter about his nomination. "Though I've only been on the rap scene for seven months now, I work very hard on my music day in and day out. If it's not recording, I'm just vibing and strategizing on what's next, and how I can improve. If it's not that, it's the other way around. So what I'mma need all my Jet Setters to do is go and vote for me as MTV's Hottest Breakthrough MC of 2010!"
Simmons also had a special message about his new mixtape opus, First Flight's sequel, Airborne.
"This mixtape is for dreamers, lovers, and believers," he posted on his Twitter page. "I love the way this project has came out as a whole :)"
The tape is near completion.
"I vibe out to the beat, listen to it," Diggy explained to MTV News of his writing process. "A lot of people write in their head. But I'm a little more ... I don't wanna say conscious ... I wanna make sure I have everything there, so I usually do it over. I text edit on my Mac, write it up. It doesn't take me too, too long to write a verse. I usually do the chorus before my verses for the fact I have an idea of what I want the whole track to be about. So, you know, I usually do it piece by piece."
Simmons says he finds his muse in the music of some of today's top-flight MCs.
"A lot of my inspirations in music vary from Lupe [Fiasco], to A Tribe Called Quest, to Mos Def," he explained. "Real lyrical dudes in the game. A lot of the times when you listen to music, you have to focus on what you listen to. You can pick up the wrong inspiration for your music. [I'm] definitely a Jay fan, Nas fan. I'm a Wu-Tang fan. I may [rap] over some Wu-Tang [beats] possibly. Lupe is one of my favorites. That's just to name a few."
Diggy and 19 other up-and-coming MCs are in the running to become MTV News' "Hottest Breakthrough MCs of 2010" — and the winner will be decided by you!
Cast your vote for the "Hottest Breakthrough MC of 2010" right here. The top five will be revealed beginning on July 19, and the winner will be announced on the "Sucker Free Summit" July 25.