J-Diggs @ Celebrity Theatre

J-Diggs is paying forward a debt laid on him by close friend Mac Dre, who was shot and killed on a Kansas City highway eight years ago. Born Jamal Diggs in North Vallejo, California, Diggs had success rapping at an early age but deferred to his Crest neighborhood buddy Mac Dre (born Andre Hicks). Diggs and his "Romper Room" posse robbed area pizza stores to fund Dre's budding career (which saw him help originate hyphy). Then in '92, Diggs, Simon "Kilo Curt" Curtis, and Dre were busted for conspiracy to commit bank robbery. Dre wasn't involved but refused to snitch and got five years. Ringleader Diggs — who was Dre's cellmate — got 10. They plotted their music industry takeover, and when Dre got out, he launched the Thizz Entertainment label. When Diggs tasted freedom, he released his 2003 debut, Both Sides of the Gate. Since Dre's death the following year, Diggs has dedicated his career to him. Like many Bay Area cats (Del, the Grinch), Diggs is prodigious, with at least 15 releases in the past decade. He primarily busts gritty true-crime fare and club-heavy party music. His pace and flow aren't special, but he's got a certain showman's flair and gangsta-inspired lyricism that's sometimes cinematic.


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