Digga D’s fourth mixtape ‘Back To Square One’ finds the West Londoner stepping away from the drill sound that he’s done so much to popularise. Across the impressive 15 track project, Double Tap Digs (real name Rhys Herbert) uses the increased elbow room afforded by the slower Rap tempo to explore the ins and outs of being the scene’s most hated, most celebrated figure. Hearing the unruliest rapper in the game show vulnerability and deep introspection on sombre opener ‘Fighting For My Soul’ is an unexpected but endearing turn that keeps us on his side for when he later channels the anger of the scorned villain.
That mask is fully on for ‘Kindness For Weakness’ and ‘Burn Bridges’, in which Digga growls at being ostracised from his peers and blackballed by the industry. He shows as being mostly unbothered by his exile, but he can’t hide his bitterness entirely. Digga’s idol 50 Cent was able to reach dizzying heights while making himself an enemy of the entire rap game because the few friends he had were pretty powerful (Eminem, Dr Dre). Without that kind of allyship, Digga knows that his star will ultimately be capped. He’s burdened by the non-negotiables of his own code and it makes for a portrait of a conflicted anti-hero.
During the midsection of ‘Back To Square One’ (‘Baby Mum’s Crib’ with M Huncho through ‘Bine On Em’) commercial Digga D re-appears, albeit it a less potent, less explosive version. Standout track ‘Energy’ though, finds the rapper at his most likeable. Even on X10’s uplifting production Digs can’t shed the weight of his stresses, but he taps into a steely, feel-good defiance as he bounces on the track with his patented drill flow.
The formula to Digga D’s fourth mixtape – ‘Back To Square One’ – is as simple as the title suggests. But the sum of that formula is more complex and conflicted. As a rapper that intends on being around for a while longer, the mixtape constructs a cult of character and builds lore that will one day form part of Digga D’s legend.
Words: Dwayne Wilks