The school of hard knocks has been the breeding grounds for some of the most talented artists in hip hop. With the rough and tumble street life providing the setting for some of the grittiest modern day blues, rappers from coast to coast have poured their fears, frustrations, trials and tribulations into a multi-million-dollar music industry.
Up next to add his name to this long list of lyrical street soldiers to survive the concrete jungle is Washington, D.C. survivalist Dynomite Diggz. Grinding it out for years serving mixtapes in the Washington, D.C./Maryland/Virginia area, Diggz is soon set to expand past his tri-state boundaries with his forthcoming Mazerati Music, LLC mixtape Bread for the City and as-yet-untitled debut album coming soon.
“With my music, I fuse traditional hip hop with gangsta rap,” Diggz explains. “I fell in love with rap in the late 90s to early 2000s when you actually had to be a real MC. It wasn’t no WorldStarHipHop.com or YouTube. Everybody had their own style. It was about the lyrics and I can’t get that out my system and that’s what I still bring.”
Raised in a two-parent household, Diggz’s parents made sure he kept his head on straight and taught him good values. Diggz inherited his musical abilities from his father, who was a jazz musician. But instead of playing a horn or beating on drums, Diggz picked hip hop as his genre of choice.
Growing up listening to Nas, Wu-Tang Clan and Bone Thugs N Harmony, Diggz used to recite his own rhymes to his friends who always insisted that he pursuit rap as a career. He didn’t consider their suggestions until his seventh grade year when an older cat in the neighborhood was killed. Diggz penned his first rhyme in memory of his slain friend.
Knowing that Diggz had something to offer to the music, his older brother introduced him to another aspiring rapper Substantial in Maryland who had made a name for himself around town rapping at various shows.
“Substantial took me under his wing and taught me the art of rapping,” Diggz remembers. “He taught me how to count bars, make beats and use a sampler.”
Before long, Diggz joined nine-member a local group UV (which stood for Ultraviolet or Unlimited Verses). The group made more traditional boom bap-styled hip hop music. But Diggz, however, was more influenced by the streets. By this time, though, not only was his rhymes influenced by the streets but so was his life. No longer the nice young man that his parents raised, Diggz was knee-deep in the streets and living on the other side of the law.
But when he decided to leave a life of crime behind him, he jumped into the music with vengeance. He hit them by surprise with his first project, which was mixtape Hit Em Up Vol. 1 in 2002.
Diggz came back once again in 2006 with mixtape Back to the Future and a song that set the city on fire with “Warm It Up,” a sizzling single with local rapper Killer Kal and member of go-go band The What. His next 2008 mixtape D.C. Bailout: 800 Billion Bars caught the attention of three-time NBA All-Star Steve Francis, who signed the emerging rapper to his recently formed label Mazerati Music, LLC.
“Even though I’m not in the streets anymore, I’m still a street cat and I rap for my homies,” says Diggz. “Most of my childhood friends are from the streets so I try to make music for them and people like them.”
Since being with the label, he has been featured on Steve Francis presents Dean’s List compilation, a joint venture with celebrated hip hop producer Mike Dean. Now Diggz is set to raise rap standards with his forthcoming mixtape Bread for the City and as-yet-untitled debut album coming soon.