Over Pusha T‘s “Dreaming of the Past” beat, the New Jersey native delivers a love letter to Hip Hop and salutes some of the pioneers who have shaped her worldview, from Queen Latifah and KRS-One to Brand Nubian and Wu-Tang Clan.
“Hip Hop, birthed from Civil Rights, mixed with that Run The Jewels, shout out to Killer Mike/ Voice of the inner-city, Melle gave us ‘The Message’/ Blueprints from KRS got us out of the wreckage/ Teaching us Einstein and been made kites fly/ Chuck D taught me beware of them white lies,” she spits over the soulful Kanye West-produced loop.
Rah Digga also laments the current state of the game while issuing a warning to today’s MCs: “Corporates ties generating astronomical wealth/ I’m like, ‘Nuh-uh, something ain’t right here’/ Fucked up contracts going on for light years/ A.I. rappers now, what is this nightmare?”
Though “Thank You Hip Hop” dropped on Sunday (December 31), Rah Digga spoke exclusively to HipHopDX prior to its release about her inspiration for the track, which marks her first release of 2023.
“I’m just reflecting on my memories and my experiences in Hip Hop,” she told DX. “Hip Hop was really instrumental in who I am. This is something that I’ve been following and wanting to do since I was nine years old, and it just molded me in so many different facets of my life.
“KRS-One is the reason I became a book reader. Chuck D is the reason I consciously did things to stay out of jail. Latifah is the reason I wasn’t promiscuous. Wu-Tang made me aware of the food I was eating. It molded me and shaped me in a way that school and my parents couldn’t.”
She added: “[The freestyle] is basically me going through the decades of life lessons that I picked up along the way, and I’m trying to end it with a message to the current generation without sounding like the ‘old head’ or chastising them or complaining about the state of Hip Hop. You know, just a couple of gems for them.”
Rah also touched on the possibility of a new solo album, saying: “I’m gonna say, ‘Never say never.’ I just gotta to sit down and do it. I am looking to focus on my efforts on other artists, but if I need to jump back in the ring to kickstart the movement, I’ll be more than happy to do it.
“I mean, I’m sitting on some of the most incredible beats you’ve ever heard in life. It would be a crying shame not to take it to task. And also, we got a Flipmode [Squad] reunion album that Busta [Rhymes] has been teasing for a minute now, so hopefully that will see the light of day soon. Rah Digga definitely got some verses down here in the ethos!”
Rah Digga seems to be prepped for a busy 2024. Earlier on Monday (January 1), she executive produced a brand new EP by Young Zee and the late Tame One.
Released on New Year’s Day, Burn Outz is produced entirely by Grammy-nominated producer Quelle Chris and is believed to be the last full project’s worth of material by Tame, who passed away aged 52 in November 2022.
Speaking to HipHopDX ahead of the EP’s release, Rah explained that work on the eight-track project originally began back in 2015 and that it was actually supposed to be her album.
“I was going to do a project with Quelle,” she said, “and then I was having a conversation with Zee and I learned that he and Tame were trying to put something together. And I was like, ‘You know what? I have a guy with the craziest, most unorthodox beats ever.’ I just thought it would be a perfect marriage to put these beats with them.
“So we went to the studio, we had a session and the very first song that they recorded was called ‘Practice.’ It was actually one of my beats and I said, ‘You know what? Let me hear what you sound like on this.’ And they murdered that beat so crazy.
“Then I hit Quelle like, ‘Yo, let’s postpone our stuff. I want to lend these beads to Zee and Tame, they’ve got a nice rhythm together; I think you’ll be genuinely pleased.’”