Words by Tai Saint-Louis
It may be too early to call it, but Desiigner seems to be having the best year any brand new artist could imagine right now. After two weeks of speculation about the Brooklyn teen’s affiliation with G.O.O.D. Music, thanks to a TMZ blitz at L.A.X., Kanye West introduced Desiigner as his label’s latest acquisition.
There isn’t a whole lot of information out there about Yeezy’s latest protege, whose month-old viral hit “Panda” has already inspired a handful of remixes. But here’s what we do know:
1.“Panda,” his second single, garnered 250,000 plays on Soundcloud in a little over a week.
If you feel like you’re hearing this kid’s name out of nowhere all of a sudden, it’s because you are. Three months ago, Desiigner was just another rap hopeful with a brand new Soundcloud page. His first song, “Zombie Walk” still sits at a modest 81,000 plays on the streaming site. But according to This Is 50’s Punch, “Panda” went from 87 plays to 250,000 about a week and a half following its release around Christmas time.
There does seem to be a disconnect between fan’s love of the song and their connection to Desiigner himself. Up until two weeks ago, his Instagram posts were barely cracking 50 likes. Compare that to the 2000 likes he got while standing next to Kanye and the 500-plus likes he got with his quiet Def Jam announcement. He HAS built a team around himself in the last couple of weeks which includes Hot 97 on-air personality Zana Ray and renowned entertainment attorney Bob Celestin.
2.There is a strong possibility the G.O.O.D. Music machine may have had something to do with the booming success of “Panda.”
Back in December, around when “Panda” was released, Pusha T was making his media rounds, promoting his new project Darkest Before Dawn and doing his first few interviews as the newly announced president of G.O.O.D. Music. During his December 21 appearance on “Sway In The Morning,” Pusha revealed that his first two deals as the label’s new head honcho were already in the works and that they were “gonna be so great for the business.” So it’s very possible that what seems like a brand new artists organically being catapulted into the spotlight might have had a little push… which would then make the “Panda” sample on #TLOP’s “Father Stretch My Hands Pt 1 & 2” mean a little more. We’re totally speculating on this one.
Then again, Desiigner was definitely being courted by other labels as well…
According to the Brooklyn rapper’s Instagram feed, over the last month, he’s taken meetings with Atlantic, Universal/Republic and Sony Music. There was also a conversation with Cash Money as early as the end of last summer. President Push apparently sealed the deal with G.O.O.D. about a week ago. And Def Jam added him to the roster on February 12.
3.Contrary to what your ears may tell you, “Panda” has no ties to the city of Atlanta whatsoever.
Not only does 18-year-old Desiigner not have “broads in Atlanta,” he’s actually never visited the A. And yes, a lot of people who heard “Panda” for the first time yesterday during the Yeezy Season 3 thought they were hearing a Future feature; but the newcomer says that’s just his style and he is in no way attempting to sound like a southern artist.
4. Desiigner has already graced two of New York City’s most legendary Hip-Hop stages.
For the past few weeks, Desiigner, his hit single and his dab have been on a 5-Borough tour, hosting events alongside Jadakiss, Uncle Murda and Papoose, Maino and Lloyd Banks, and more. And while some of his appearances have been the typical newcomer showcase opportunities, he has also already appeared on two pretty impressive stages: joining TK & Cash on stage at SOB’S during the 300 Music’s Young Hustle Tour late last month and as a special guest during the Future Of New York showcase at Webster Hall
5.Desiigner’s first full length project, a mixtape, is due out this month.
While working on his official G.O.O.D. Music debut, Desiigner is set to release his very first collection of music, a mixtape titled Trap History Month within the next couple of weeks. Why Trap History instead of Black History? “Cuz it’s time to get up and grind.” His words, not ours.