4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Wartime on the boulevard

Riston Diggs finishes his military stint and is ready to rap

Diggs served nine years in the Navy and lived to rap about it — and the racial tensions he found when he returned home to La Mesa.
Diggs served nine years in the Navy and lived to rap about it — and the racial tensions he found when he returned home to La Mesa.

La Mesa–based MC Riston Diggs (the Known Unknowns) recorded his debut album, The Blvd Experience, following the completion of a nine-year Navy career where he served as an aviation administrator. I asked him about the title track, which addresses his views regarding local racial (and racist) issues.

“Cuz every nigga’s a victim, u get it/ I ain’t saying I’m racist/ but I’m no longer patient/ waiting with my hand out in this white man’s world/ screaming I can’t breathe with my hands up.”

Video:

"Post Traumatic Stress Disorder" by Riston Diggs

...and featuring Sly Beats

...and featuring Sly Beats

Is he concerned about potentially alienating white audiences? “Historically, intelligent white people have come to understand the struggle of the black race in America,” he says. “I was just expressing the climate of racial tension going on in our nation at the moment, with the storied police brutality, and also saying I refuse to be victimized by the idea of racism or be a wicked person.

“The police have harassed me. I had an incident where a neighbor called the cops because they heard my daughters yelling and thought I had done something to them. But they were only playing and, being girls, screaming. Next thing you know, I get a call from a number that I don’t know, I pick up, and someone I don’t know is telling me to come out. I thought it was a friend of mine playing with me, so I walk out, and a red dot was on my head. All I saw were a lot of police and I heard a voice giving further instructions. It was the SWAT team: they had me face down on the wet ground and then searched my house with dogs, all while my daughters were in the apartment crying.”

No arrest was made. “It was kind of embarrassing. I believe a simple knock on the door for a noise complaint would’ve fixed that issue.”

The same song also has the lyric, “They steady faking hating acting like they be in the field/ when it’s wartime we’ll see who’s keeping it real.”

He downplays the incendiary tone. “Wartime is any time a challenge from the enemy presents itself, in any shape, form, or fashion. That last line was for people that I knew and I thought were supposed to be my friend.... I just used the military concept to express that, because friendships should be like a platoon in the Marines, strong as shit.”

Diggs’s video for “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,” featuring producer/singer Sly Beats, has over 68,000 views.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

In the thick of it with Edward Elgar

Mainly Mozart grants a musical wish
Diggs served nine years in the Navy and lived to rap about it — and the racial tensions he found when he returned home to La Mesa.
Diggs served nine years in the Navy and lived to rap about it — and the racial tensions he found when he returned home to La Mesa.

La Mesa–based MC Riston Diggs (the Known Unknowns) recorded his debut album, The Blvd Experience, following the completion of a nine-year Navy career where he served as an aviation administrator. I asked him about the title track, which addresses his views regarding local racial (and racist) issues.

“Cuz every nigga’s a victim, u get it/ I ain’t saying I’m racist/ but I’m no longer patient/ waiting with my hand out in this white man’s world/ screaming I can’t breathe with my hands up.”

Video:

"Post Traumatic Stress Disorder" by Riston Diggs

...and featuring Sly Beats

...and featuring Sly Beats

Is he concerned about potentially alienating white audiences? “Historically, intelligent white people have come to understand the struggle of the black race in America,” he says. “I was just expressing the climate of racial tension going on in our nation at the moment, with the storied police brutality, and also saying I refuse to be victimized by the idea of racism or be a wicked person.

“The police have harassed me. I had an incident where a neighbor called the cops because they heard my daughters yelling and thought I had done something to them. But they were only playing and, being girls, screaming. Next thing you know, I get a call from a number that I don’t know, I pick up, and someone I don’t know is telling me to come out. I thought it was a friend of mine playing with me, so I walk out, and a red dot was on my head. All I saw were a lot of police and I heard a voice giving further instructions. It was the SWAT team: they had me face down on the wet ground and then searched my house with dogs, all while my daughters were in the apartment crying.”

No arrest was made. “It was kind of embarrassing. I believe a simple knock on the door for a noise complaint would’ve fixed that issue.”

The same song also has the lyric, “They steady faking hating acting like they be in the field/ when it’s wartime we’ll see who’s keeping it real.”

He downplays the incendiary tone. “Wartime is any time a challenge from the enemy presents itself, in any shape, form, or fashion. That last line was for people that I knew and I thought were supposed to be my friend.... I just used the military concept to express that, because friendships should be like a platoon in the Marines, strong as shit.”

Diggs’s video for “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,” featuring producer/singer Sly Beats, has over 68,000 views.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Skateboarding toward a musical horizon

Urethane, the Lyrics, Belladon, Plosivs, Stephen Bishop
Next Article

Remembering Louis Procaccino

“He always had food in his pockets”
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close