This machine kills facades10/8/2014
Prettygirlhatemachine — a Des Moines hip-hop trio consisting of MCs Toby Diligent and D Average and DJ J Fresh — started as a Diligent’s solo project in 2005. Eventually Diligent and D Average met and started collaborating in the studio.
“For the longest time, we didn’t play live shows,” Diligent said of that original two-piece collaboration. “I won’t say we didn’t plan on playing shows; we just didn’t for a long time.
“The album changed that,” he continued. “After we made an album, we decided to start playing shows live shows, so we added a DJ.”
Now, Prettygirlhatemachine is a big part of a local hip-hop scene that Diligent sees as constantly improving, despite the inherent difficulties.
“There’s definitely a lot of talent here,” he said. “(But) I think it’s hard for artists here to build a fan base. I’ve been to shows where there’s 200 people, then to shows with the same artists with 20 people. We’ve been very fortunate to have the support of the Vaudeville Mews. But it would probably help the scene out to have three or four of those places.”
In the absence of an explosion of hip-hop venues, Diligent and his crew rely on word of mouth to grow its following. And for Diligent, that word of mouth will only come on the wings of genuine personal expression. With an outlook that’s been forged by Midwestern talents like twin cities-based Atmosphere, Prettygirlhatemachine finds its path gilded by truth.
In a genre that’s so often dominated by posturing and manufactured beefs with other artists, Diligent remains faithful to the concept of rap as genuine biography. Rather than waste time crafting a persona and living behind a facade, Diligent’s rhyme and flow is dedicated to being real — a beat poet, making his way through a sea that’s too often inhabited by caricatures.
Honesty is how you forge connections. It’s how people are drawn in. And Diligent firmly believes that the only way to make Des Moines’ hip-hop community grow is to connect with as many people as possible.
“I just always want to be really honest in my music,” he explained. “I feel like that’s lost in a lot of hip-hop. The ‘fake it till you make it’ mentality is big. I just want to express what I’m feeling at that time that I’m making any particular song.” CV