Ever since Lauryn Hill left the game, female emcees have been scrambling to claim the title of First Lady of Hip Hop. However long before Ms. Hill went off the deep end, Rah Digga held her own amongst male counterparts with memorable appearances between Reflection Eternal’s debut (“Down for the Count“) and a slew of Busta Rhymes’ releases (“Together,” “Better Stay up in Your House,” “Touch It [Remix],”). Despite her presence on the mic, Rah has been slept on more than air mattresses. Hoping to change that, Rah teamed up with super-producer, Nottz (50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, Scarface, Kanye West) who handles instrumental aspects of her sophomore release, Classic.
When you title an album Classic, you’re obviously setting a high standard for yourself, and Rah sounds completely confident that she can live up to the name. Opening with a macabre tone ala Liquid Swords, Rah kills it, showcasing her rapid-fire flow on “Book of Rashia,” which features one of Nottz’ most intricate instrumentals to date. The intro smoothly transitions into “Who Gonna Check Me Boo,” on which Rah spits solidified bars of swag whilst unleashing punchlines at the expense of Taylor Swift. Rah gets educational, teaching us how to rhyme right on “This Ain’t No Lil Kid Rap.” Rah’s bars once again come out vicious as a junkyard dog as she spits, “see even after your peak, you’ll never measure me/Rah legendary status, Rakim, Eric B./diggin’ in some little kid like Pleasure P/Hip Hop police might come arresting me.” The song also features a great hook, sure to make Hip Hop heads nod.
Realizing her rhymes are clearly her strongpoint, Rah continues with the fourth part of her “Straight Spittin” series, which also fares favorably. The album’s title track, “Classic,” marks a resurgence of the infamous ’90s Boom Bap sound without sounding dated. Rah Digga displays her lyrical savageness, boasting, “I’m that breed, they intrigued/girl’s flow don’t stop like hemophiliacs bleed.” Nottz once again proves why he’s in such high demand with “Solidified” which sounds like a reinvigorated version of “Barry Bonds.” Needless to say Rah Digga stays in line with her previous jams and sounds at home over the guitar sample. “Viral” is commendable for displaying the Jersey born emcees ability to stay on topic, as she breaks down the Hip Hop blog/message board culture down to the abbreviated slang and emoticons, although the hook is somewhat lackluster. “Back It Up” contains an experimental instrumental, which is sure to capture listeners’ attention, but doesn’t particularly stand out. Nottz makes it up with his closing production, “You Got It.” The vocal sample on the hook works well, while Rah Digga solidifies herself as a beast on the mic with numerous references to rap classics.
Although teaming up with Nottz probably won’t change Rah’s chart position, it can definitely make a difference for the Hip Hop culture. Working alongside a beatsmith whose name sits within the rolodex of virtually every commercial rapper is a pretty big deal and proves that respect and integrity can go a long way in the music biz. Rah continually sounds charismatic over Nottz production, which is impressive in its own right. Standing at ten tracks tall, there’s zero filler on Classic which is exemplary for a modern day rap release. Rah Digga and Nottz’ collaborative effort hardly falls short from its advertised title and is a close to a classic as you will probably hear this year.