dutch rapper digitzz thinks bob marley is everything
Half Dutch, half American, full afro'd rapper Digitzz is living the "frolife" with his girlfriend, Dutch TV presenter Veronica van Hoogdalem - and he recommends you do the same. His self-styled philosophy is about keeping a smile on your face, surrounding yourself with all things good and blocking out the haters, he told i-D.
Born Nigel Williams, the 27-year-old rapper makes music that spreads this philosophy. His signature combo of rolling, laid-back rhymes over simple melodies leaves you grinning ear to ear. Unsurprisingly, he says, "Bob Marley is everything."After previous releases The Good Stuff (2013) and The Awesome (2014), Digitzz is back with Thank God It's Froday. The new EP features five feel-good tracks including The Kickback and Stonertown, which should be everyone's soundtrack of the summer. We sat down with the rapper to learn more about his lifestyle.
What do people need to know about Digitzz?
I have the biggest afro in the Netherlands, haha! But seriously, underneath all of the hair is a guy who is all about being positive, who just wants to have a good time. It's all about the good vibes in life.
When did you start making music professionally?
I think it was three years ago - I had this complete epiphany. I don't know exactly why or how it happened, but I suddenly realized, "Hey bro, stop messing around, it's time to get to work." I began to look at the world differently - it's not just about being cool, it's about being happy. It's about being able to look in the mirror and knowing that I can be myself today, that I learned new things, made someone happy, enjoyed myself, did what I wanted to do and got everything out of my day. This is the mindset that I started making music with. And hopefully that comes through!
What's the most important ingredient of any Digitzz track?
Spontaneity, and it has to put you in a certain mood, whether it's a weird or positive one. I like songs that takes me places, and that's what I look for in my own music.
What's your vision for the future?
The plan is to break through internationally! I'm doing everything I can to make it happen.
When will you be fully satisfied?
Never. I think that's the curse of all musicians and creative people - it's never good enough, you always feel it can be better. You hear something and think "Shit, why didn't I think of that?" I can work on a track endlessly - there's always something that can sound just that bit better or different.
What advice would you give to young people who want to follow in your footsteps?
Be yourself. Everyone is unique and that's what you have to convey. Don't be ashamed of what sets you apart from the next person. Embrace yourself and abide by the things you want to do and the way you feel.
You and your girlfriend document your life together on your website, frolife. What does living the frolife entail?
Pure fun! Every day is filled with laughter and we just do what we want to do. It's about just loving life and chasing your dreams, standing for something and pursuing it.
And it's also about making other people happy, right?
Yes - to see someone smile because of my performance, to be able to teach someone something, to be able to make someone's day that much better… It's the best gift.
When can we finally expect your first album, Ohmyfro?
I'm still far from the stage where I'm ready to bring out an album. First I have to prove myself and people need to get to know me. I'm just starting out. But, if one of my tracks blows up tomorrow and people start shouting, "Hey, are you ever going to bring out a full album?" then we'll be on it!
Text Channa Brunt
Photography Kwabena sekyi Appiah-Nti