Dubbed as UK drill’s golden boy, and never far from controversy, Digga D’s rise to fame over the past 3-years-or-so has been nothing short of notorious. ‘Made In The Pyrex’ was absolutely needed to bookmark this period adequately. His ‘Next Up’ freestyle in 2017 stopped everyone in their tracks and the success of ‘Woi’ and ‘Chingy’ commercially only reinforced the 20-year-olds impact on the scene. His debut project, ‘Double Tap Diaries’, just missed out on a Top Ten spot on the UK charts.
Back in 2018, Digga was convicted of conspiracy to commit violent disorder. Since then, he has been back to prison three times, including for breaching the stringent conditions of his Criminal Behaviour Order. As with the oxymoronic nature of UK drill, the Ladbroke Grove star finds himself in the precarious position of navigating the police but also projecting a sound that maintains his own artistic integrity. He has even had to battle the bizarre censorship ruling on his lyrics to ensure they don’t ‘incite violence’.
Digga D, whose real name is Rhys Herbert, had to make a body of work that was unapologetically his own that could rise above these factors. So, how well did ‘Made In The Pyrex’ do this?
Pretty damn well. The 13-track tape is finely tuned to ears from the British Isles and across the pond. It pulls from elements of Chicago drill and meshes them with a UK bassline and Caribbean patois. Songs like ‘Chingy’ of course, making a nod to the Missouri artist with the same name. MITP is just as abrasive as everyone expected, in reality.
‘Intro’ kicks things off with a monologue with no bassy exterior reflecting on his time behind bars. ‘Bluwuu’, ‘Chingy’ and ‘Bringing It Back’ up the stakes with some high-hat infested Chicago trap and distorted UK bass. All three records have been released as standalone singles with which have contributed to making Digga’s name. The latter featuring fellow West London titan AJ Tracey, who needs no introduction at this point.
Digga is absolutely crazy when it comes to ad-libs and these three tracks are almost glued together by them. With this, his unique personality is able through and this appeals to those wider US audiences. M1llionz has one of the most ingenious styles right now in the UK and comes through with some nice flows, back to back with Digga, on ‘No Chorus’. ‘Woi’ has been a banger since first release last summer, best demonstrating his ability to spit calmly while also getting you gassed. This proceeds ‘Clout Is Killing My People’ a clear warning message dressed up in its own 43 second grimey beat.
‘Folknem’ Ft ZK and Sav’O (Produced by X10 x HL8 x Scott Supreme x Scott Styles) showcases his consistent ability to produce well-constructed music, in all aspects. Particularly though, in terms of wordplay and lyricism. The three artists also radiate great chemistry on this track. ‘My Brucky’ is a literal slap in the face to censorship as he pulls out some of the projects most abrasive bars. ‘Gun Man Sound’ takes his passion for experimental ad-libs to another level, using a full range of phonetics to impersonate different firearms. This is one of the more experimental records, but it doesn’t ignore its drill sensibilities at the same time.
Then, we’re thrown ‘Window’. A total curveball as Digga presents a completely new style, curtesy going to Lizz Miribaby on production. Digga D incorporates his Caribbean culture and sounds of dancehall into his music fusing Patois into his lyrics and flow. Digga D is once again showing that he’s fearless enough to make just about anything work. ‘Trust Issues’ similarly, changes things up as he almost humorously lists the people in his life he can’t trust, in a track laden again with patois, a nice distinction between the first and second halves of the tape. To close off we hear ‘Toxic’ a trap ballad that points a mirror to the faces of women who brandish his antics negative.
Digga D was 100% unscathed by any attempt to dilute his music. In fact, it forced him to be more experimental in parts, but maintaining the abrasive lyrics that brought him to this point. You have a continuation of his charge to tap into US culture with catchy hooks and ingenious adlibs, but you also have a transparent pride of his Caribbean routes. The mixture of his signature self-assured cockiness with the grandiose nature of the style of dancehall on ‘Window’, or the universal appeal of a trap anthem like ‘Woi’, is indicative of the diversity of markets that Digga will hit. Doing it his own way, though. Rhys shows brilliant self-awareness on this project too, from sense of humour to the nuance of leaving certain elements of his story to the imagination. The police scrutinise every word that Digga utters and he’s always going to be somewhat hindered by his involvement in gang violence that came before. That doesn’t define his art and by monitoring what he says you don’t put a cap on his output.