Unexpected Arrival

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Being a descendent of hip-hop royalty (he's the son of Joseph "Rev Run" Simmons from the legendary Run-D.M.C.) doesn't give Diggy Simmons the right to bounce between Drake's cool delivery and Lil Wayne's snarl, or act like he's your wise tour guide on a trip across the universe, opening with the bombast of a heavy poem ("The Arrival") and a manifesto produced by Happy Perez ("Hello World"), but maybe his natural charm gives him a good enough excuse. The 16 year-old already had a sneaker line in stores by the time his debut album hit the shelves, and while you hadn't even thought about college by that time, Diggy isn't spread so thin, and dives enthusiastically into this pool of well-funded pop-rap that all feels familiar for anyone with a Young Money or will.i.am release on their shelves. Dernst "D'Mile" Emile is the man behind most of the colorful, shoulder-rockin' beats, influencing listeners to participate in the simple "throw you hands up" moments of "Two Up" and tolerate the "king of rap" self-nomination Diggy offers on the so smooth "Special Occasion". An even better boaster is the mighty "88," where Dad and the rest of the old-school are defended with special guest Jadakiss, and even if they don't need the assistance, Diggy's reverence for the golden age is as infectious as the song itself. "Tom Edison" presents the thrilling, not chilling, sound of a riot going on in advanced science class, and if "The Reign" is the usual starry-eyed, half-tempo closer these teen-aimed, pop-rap albums offer, Diggy's hard push to make it sound distinctive is more attractive than your crinkled nose and jaded opinion. Kid-tested and parent-approved, this well-done debut makes hating on Diggy as ridiculous as it sounds.

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