Noughty By Nature

Noughty By Nature

“This is the evolution of badness.” In 2018, Digga D became one of the first British musicians to be handed a Criminal Behaviour Order controlling his output. Trapped in a cycle of prison time and staccato output, it seemed the Ladbroke Grove drill MC might not realise his considerable potential. Then 2021’s Made In The Pyrex mixtape arrived, with its explicit nods to Los Angeles gang culture and 2000s’ US rap trends. It underlined his prodigious ability, while also announcing his considerable ambitions “Before I blew up, all that I knew was London,” he tells Apple Music. “Now I know there’s much more to do out here in the world.” Is Noughty By Nature, then, a bid for US domination? It certainly pays its dues to Digga’s biggest American idol. “I was born in 2000, I’m a noughties baby and I grew up listening to 50 Cent,” he says. “I felt like I needed to show that.” He does so pretty emphatically: retooling three of the New Yorker’s memorable anthems. Liverpool talent Still Brickin hops on for “Pump 101”’s wild braggadocio (sampling G-Unit’s “Stunt 101”), Digga lines up queries over a striking sample of “21 Questions” on “Hold You Down”, while he taps Bronx spitter B-Lovee for scattergun drill flows (the “Best Friend”-sampling “What You Reckon). But it’s when Digga embraces home that he’s arguably most compelling. “Intro” charts his personal history—taking in early neglect, juvenile felonies and the pain of loss—and connects the dots between his troubled start to the scandals that have checked his professional progress. There are clear shots at rap rivals, but this tape makes it clear Digga knows who his worst enemy is—and how he’s battling against past mistakes. “This is the evolution of badness,” he tells Apple Music. "I’m showing it from the start, playing with toys, then getting older, starting to smoke and getting into more. Right up to Digga with the mic [today], staying out of trouble. I’m showing everything in my nature, so you’ll get the full picture.” Below, Digga D talks us through his third mixtape. “Intro” “The disclaimer at the start of this track is to put you in a different mind space on this tape. I want you to feel me—what I’m saying and where I’m coming from.” “Alter Ego” “I wanna say, firstly, this is all fiction. It’s based on characters that you could say are different versions of me. Over the years I’ve had a few [nicknames], but these days my friends just call me Digga.” “Load Up” “I was 30 songs deep when I came up with this, still recording and stacking them up. In general, I prefer making these songs to others that have a more commercial sound. It’s way more fun and easier to get creative with the ad-libs.” “Stuck In The Mud” “I set this concept up around school play. It’s where the title comes from: the popular playground game. If you’ve seen my videos, then you’ll know I like to run with whole visual themes and get creative, if I was to shoot one for this track, obviously, we’re taking it back to the playground.” “Pump 101” [feat. Still Brickin] “I asked [British producer] AaronOrAge specifically to sample the [“Stunt 101”] beat—just to see what I could do on it. I’ve been listening to 50 Cent from a young age, about four or five years old, so this has been on my mind for some time. Still Brickin is a good friend, who just happens to rap, and I really like listening to him.” “Hold It Down” “I dropped a freestyle on [50 Cent’s 2003 single] “21 Questions”, in 2018. I put it out on Instagram, so you could say this idea has kinda been around for a while. And on this tape: I decided the time was right to fully turn it into a song.” “What You Reckon” [feat B-Lovee] “Firstly, I rate B-Lovee’s music. And after meeting him: I can say I rock with him as a person, too. There’s a YouTuber [in New York] called Crooklyn—this was all down to him. He records reactions to videos and freestyles on his page, so I sent him this track, when I was out in New York, like, ‘I really need B-Lovee on this. Could you make it happen?’ And he done his ting, rapid! He put us on a FaceTime [call] together, and we did the rest. So big up Crooklyn.” “Main Road” “I had fun with this one. The song usually starts in my head and builds from there. I start humming, or freestyling, just to find a flow, then I run with it. I really like the punchline scheme I threw in for the second verse here, I’m letting it be known that I’ve still got it.” “Secret” [feat. Internet Money, Rack5, Dodgy & Horrid1] “I wouldn’t say these are my worst secrets [on the track]. It’s only music, so it’s nothing for me to put this out. Trust me, there’s deeper stuff that definitely doesn’t need to be out there. I’m only telling the calm secrets on this track.” “G Lock” [feat Moneybagg Yo] “I didn’t actually get in the studio with Moneybagg, like I did with Hotboii [for “Rambo”], so this one was a different vibe, but still fun to do. I definitely want to visit the West [Coast], and also [Washington] D.C., on my next trip out there. It’s where the White House is, I guess. But Atlanta is where I picked up the best vibes—they’re hustlers there. They think of something to do, and stick to it. They really get money, so you can’t sit around and not get some out there.” “Statement” “I know a lot of people won’t like some of the things I say on here. But I don’t really care. I’ll say what I want. You get me? This is my statement. That’s it.” “Addicted” “I made this song in 2009. I was in jail, writing things down, and this is how it ended out. It’s addictive, right? In my head: I’m talking to just the one person. But, honestly, my mind usually goes wherever it wants.” “Attention” “I was just asking a few questions on this track, to be honest. I’m always curious. I wanna know why guys are upset with me, because I don’t really know. But I know that they’re seeking more attention.” “Rambo” [feat. Hotboii] “This is produced by my boy Itchy at [creative consultancy and independent record label Groundworks. I mean, you’re always going to be one of the greatest if you’re under them, they’re right in everyone’s faces, and I feel like they’re the best team that’s out right now. And they’re also my friends. You have to have that [relationship] or you won’t get any realness.” “Why” [feat. AJ Tracey] “I made this with AJ on the same day that we also made [2021 single] “Bringing It Back”. We started off punching in bars, going four by four [lines], and you know AJ is a beast in the booth, so we cooked this one quickly.” “Let It Go” [feat. Maverick Sabre] “I like telling stories. My mind travels to different places and helps me write out songs like this one. But when we were recording, [British producer and songwriter] Jake Gosling was telling me: ‘Sing, man! Sing!’ And before you know it, I’m in the studio, singing away. I know I can’t sing, right? But I can still try!”

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