11 Songs, 37 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

It doesn’t get simpler than Classic: one MC, one producer, 10 songs, no guests. It’s been ten years since her debut, but Rah Digga brings the goods on her sophomore album. Classic is a tight-knit collaboration with Virginia producer Nottz, whose beats are hard and organic. His tracks are at once majestic and gritty — he spins together threads of school band orchestras, ‘70s blaxploitation funk, and the live hip-hop of the Roots. “Viral” and “Back It Up” are vertiginous tapestries of electronic sound, yet the rhythm and focus of Rah’s flow always keeps the songs grounded. “Who Gonna Check Me Boo” and “Straight Spittin’ IV” are monstrous sonic concoctions that rear up like typhoons. On the other hand, “You Got It” could be a rap song from a Bronx playground, circa 1979 — Nottz cuts up Bobby Byrd’s “I Know You Got Soul” as Rah lets loose on top of it. The drums are kicking, the bass popping — this is an album that deserves to be played at top volume. Classic proves it’s possible to embrace old-school values without turning music retrograde.

EDITORS’ NOTES

It doesn’t get simpler than Classic: one MC, one producer, 10 songs, no guests. It’s been ten years since her debut, but Rah Digga brings the goods on her sophomore album. Classic is a tight-knit collaboration with Virginia producer Nottz, whose beats are hard and organic. His tracks are at once majestic and gritty — he spins together threads of school band orchestras, ‘70s blaxploitation funk, and the live hip-hop of the Roots. “Viral” and “Back It Up” are vertiginous tapestries of electronic sound, yet the rhythm and focus of Rah’s flow always keeps the songs grounded. “Who Gonna Check Me Boo” and “Straight Spittin’ IV” are monstrous sonic concoctions that rear up like typhoons. On the other hand, “You Got It” could be a rap song from a Bronx playground, circa 1979 — Nottz cuts up Bobby Byrd’s “I Know You Got Soul” as Rah lets loose on top of it. The drums are kicking, the bass popping — this is an album that deserves to be played at top volume. Classic proves it’s possible to embrace old-school values without turning music retrograde.

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About Rah Digga

As the female member of hip-hop's Flipmode Squad (which also counts Busta Rhymes, Rampage, and Lord Have Mercy among its ranks), Rah Digga is one of rap's most prominent women MCs. Though her rapping is hard-hitting, Digga's background is surprisingly stable. Born in New Jersey, she attended a private school in Maryland and studied electrical engineering at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. She started rapping with Twice the Flavor and was the only woman in Jersey's Da Outsidaz clique. When A Tribe Called Quest's Q-Tip discovered her at a performance at New York's Lyricist Lounge, he introduced her to Busta Rhymes, who invited her to join the Flipmode Squad. As a part of that hip-hop clique, she appeared on Rhymes' 1997 album When Disaster Strikes and the Flipmode Squad's The Imperial Album from 1998. She also appeared on the Fugees' "Cowboys" and dueted with Bahamadia on "Be Ok" from Lyricist Lounge, Vol. 1. Her full-length solo debut, Dirty Harriet, arrived in 2000 and featured cameos from Rhymes and the Ruff Ryders' Eve. ~ Heather Phares

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