Meet Desiigner: Teen Sensation Behind ‘Panda’

Meet Desiigner: Teen Sensation Behind ‘Panda’

How Brooklyn rapper turned a $200 beat into a deal with Kanye– and a smash hit. “Goddamn, it’s hot out here!” Desiignercries out. “It’s like Jesus times – Bible heat! I’m about to pass the f**k out.”
“Panda”is both hard and playful – its central conceit is that a whiteBMW X6resembles apanda, which is an adorable way to celebrate conspicuous consumption. (The song’s sonic and thematic resemblances to the music of Future have been identified by admirers and detractors alike. Desiigner routinely brushes off the comparisons: “God gave him a blessing, but he gave me a blessing too,” he’s said.) The six-foot-five Desiigner says he relates to music intuitively. “I got a whole lot of slugs in the chamber. Music is everything. I’m like a big-ass music note with arms and legs!”

That attitude paid off in January, when he was interrupted by a phone call while working on new music. It was Kanye, who had caught wind of “Panda” as it bubbled online, asking Desiigner to meet him in L.A. Desiigner soon signed with G.
O.O.D. Music, Kanye’s imprint at Def Jam. His rapping tends to privilege sound over sense – he’s hypermelodic, rhythmically inventive and frequently unintelligible. “I play with my voice, make it sound crazy,” he says.

In recent weeks, Desiigner has called a studio in North Hollywood home. His camp tells me he’ll be releasing a mixtape imminently, but when I ask him what he’s got coming, he’s whimsical: “I’m working on a whole lot of bangers. I’m making movies, you feel me? The album will come out maybe the top of next year – but I’m a true artist. I might drop an album tomorrow!”

When I ask how he celebrated “Panda” going to Number One, he laughs. As some lyrics on “Panda” indicate, he’s partial to mellow drugs.

“I just smoke weed – only the herbals, maybe a little lean here and there,” he says, and any time he spends in nightclubs is as a performer, quickly shown the door the moment he’s done onstage. “I’m 19!” he reminds me, getting ready to board his plane. “I need to turn 21 so I can actually stay in these clubs!”

Am Just the real Nigga

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