Diggy Dupé: “I’m not just sharing my story, I’m sharing my family’s story”
After receiving a nomination for Best Hip Hop Act at last year’s NZ Music Awards for his EP Island Time, Diggy Dupé has released his first full-length album That’s Me, That’s Team.
Music 101’s Tony Stamp visited the rapper at his family home to talk about balancing music with a 9-5 job, and representing the central Auckland Pacific Island community.
Until recently, Diggy lived in the family home because like many young Polynesian people his age, he felt a responsibility to stay and help.
“Some people – their parents aren’t struggling, aren’t playing catchup in life. But a lot of Island families, they are [struggling] so we feel obligated to stay back and help the family and all that.”
He gave “a shout-out” to his grandfather for how he has supported the family and made sure they’ve always known they have a home “no matter what”.
“My grandfather has done such a good job on keeping everyone on the same page so we all have the same goal. I guess that’s where I get it from. We’re all on the same page – me and my team – we all have the same goal.”
The album title relates to his outlook on life and being aware of being part of something bigger “sharing his family’s story” and also the stories of those around him.
Diggy tries to use Island words in his music and conversation as much as possible because he believes it helps Pacific people have a sense of pride in their native tongue.
“I feel like if I try to incorporate it in my daily life with how I speak in person and in general then it won’t be harder to convert into my song-writing…
“If we’re speaking the native tongue a lot more then it shines through in the music.”
It has become a call to arms for him, he said, and it was refreshing to see that the practice has spread to his fellow musicians based in Australia.
“It’s normal to hear Polynesian artists sound Polynesian. Our generation coming through now we are making it more normal…”
Some of his songs, like CTNT, reflect the things he sees in his community such as gambling – his nanna’s fondness for playing bingo with her friends and his late granddad’s dream of winning Lotto.
“It’s such a personal song… I just say what I see but I think they love it, they’re just proud …there’s a bit of optimism at the end of the day so I’m kind of glad I did it the right way.”