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Digga D and His Journey Back to Square One

The West London artist speaks on returning to his rap roots, his aspirations beyond music, and why you always walk backwards into the crib after a night out

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Digga D has long upheld his reputation as a trendsetting figure in the ever-evolving realm of UK rap, consistently staying ahead of the curve artistically despite legal challenges and media scrutiny behind the scenes. On his latest project, Back To Square One, he takes a bold step away from the UK drill sound that catapulted him to prominence, shedding the trappings of the genre’s signature style and opting for a more straightforward rap project.

This time, Digga D charts a different trajectory, keenly aware of the risk of being pigeonholed as a drill artist—a fate that has befallen many UK artists in the wake of the ‘drill boom’ that swept the globe from 2018 to 2021. In true tongue-in-cheek fashion, the only nod to conventional drill on the project is the mockingly titled track ‘Fuck Drill’.

With the project’s title representing both a return to traditional rap and a tribute to the neighbourhood that shaped him—West London’s Powis Square, Back To Square One is a testament to his versatility and willingness to forge a new path, and the switch-up highlights his commitment to growth, both personally and artistically, while solidifying his place as an innovator in the UK scene.

Digga’s journey through the music industry hasn’t been without its challenges, of course. When we chat, he touches on the conflicting expectations among different generations within his fanbase and the ever-present scrutiny of social media, shedding light on the complexities of being in the public eye and balancing his personal well-being.

The project might be a snapshot of his current position, but Digga D’s path forward remains an open road with endless possibilities. Despite the departure from the familiar drill terrain, Digga D’s journey is a testament to the ever-shifting tides of the global music scene, where artists like him continue to redefine the landscape.

Congrats on the new project, Back To Square One. How are you feeling now it’s out in the world?
I appreciate it. I don’t know how I’m feeling about the tape being out there, still. I’m getting different reviews and opinions. Some people love it, I feel like the older people love it. Young people like it, they want to drill though—but I don’t know, I do what I want to do innit.

Obviously, there’s a different vibe with this project. You can hear the progression in your skills, but the title ‘Back To Square One’ makes it feel like you’re returning to your roots in a way. Can you tell us more about the title ‘Back To Square One’ and what that represents?
Yeah, it’s basically got two meanings. Back to square one in the sense that the project is just me going back to normal rap and the area that I’m from is called Powis Square, so it just kind of made sense.

This project shows that you’re versatile across different styles and subjects. Can you tell us about why you wanted to switch things up with this project?
Yeah, I just wanted to do I just wanted to do rap. I wanted to make a rap tape, I was making songs as I went along and it turns out I had enough rap songs to make a tape. So I just put it together and then pieced the puzzle like that.

And what about the choice to steer away from drill on this project, obviously the only drill track on the project being titled ‘Fuck Drill’.
[Laughs] Yeah.

I feel like in the peak of drill, you were one of the artists setting the trends so maybe by saying ‘Fuck Drill’ you’ll actually make other rappers want to move away from it too.
Yeah, that might be. It could come back though. You never know man. Hopeful it does you know, with some different sounds to it.

Did you ever feel like people wanted to box you in as a drill artist or was there a certain pressure to keep making music with drill production?
Yeah, definitely. All the time, even after this tape people will still want to call me a drill artist.

One thing you touch on in your lyrics is your frustration with dealing with the negativity of social media. How do you balance the demands of being in the public eye with maintaining your personal well-being?
I haven’t actually worked that out yet, man. I can see the division with my fans, but I do what I want. You know what it is? I don’t force people to follow what I’m doing or anything you just join the journey and you’ll see, innit. I just do whatever I want. If there’s a hundred thousand people saying “yo, release a drill track“, and at that time I don’t want to release a drill track, I’m gonna go release a rap track and they’ll wait. If you want to wait, wait. If you don’t, leave and listen to someone else you know what I’m saying?

Are you gonna give them more drill or are you done?
Nah nah, I got way more drill bro. I’ve got a lot of drill songs.

On ‘Facade’ you rap that you love Nicki Minaj. We’ve all seen the video of you meeting her when you were young. Can you give us a favourite Nicki verse or song in general?
A couple of her old freestyles, man. When she was Onika. She’s hard.

Have you seen there’s a Nicki Minaj skin in Call of Duty now? If they put Digga D in a video game, which would you want to be in?
Probably Grand Theft Auto.

I’ve heard you mention you’re keen to get into acting. What kind of role do you see yourself playing or what genre of movies?
Oh anything, you know. Any. I don’t know yet; I haven’t tried. I feel like it’s something you just have to try. I’ll have to find my lane innit.

You namedrop the iconic US Hood movie Fresh on this project— in your opinion which is the best American hood movie of all time?
Probably Paid In Full. But with Fresh, a lot of people don’t know about Fresh. When I’m rapping, and I say Fresh and people my age don’t know about it. So it just goes to show man, like the different fan base. You see what I’m trying to say? And I reference a website called Spiff TV, which was like a generation older than me. So a lot of people my age don’t get it.

You’ve been tapped into the culture since you were young huh?

There’s one lyric I wanted to ask about — on ‘DTF’, you say “I walk into the mansion backwards, it’s traditional.” I didn’t know about this, but it’s definitely a thing — can you tell me why it’s tradition to walk into the house backwards after a night out?
[Laughs] You basically leave the bad energies, leave whoever’s following you at the door; you don’t bring them into your house as you walk in backwards.

Is that something you learn from your parents growing up?
Yeah, yeah from my family and that. [Laughs] You learn something new every day.

Back To Square One gives us a look at where you’re at right now and also the journey you’ve been on to get here, but I’m curious to know — how do you envision your future, and where do you want to go from here?
I’m just gonna keep doing music, man. I never really plan for the future. I just go with the flow.

Follow Digga D for more and stream the new project Back To Square One here.

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