What’s it like to be propelled into the limelight by modern-day Midas man Kanye West? Just ask Desiigner, the 19-year-old New York rapper who recently – out of nowhere – topped the US charts after his track ‘Panda’ was sampled on West’s ‘Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 2’. Recalling the moment Kanye first played him the finished track in his car, he laughs: “It was a crazy-as-a-motherfucker moment”.
Based on a beat purchased from a Rochdale (yes, that Rochdale) producer for just £140, ‘Panda’ has capped an unbelievable six months for rising star Desiigner, whose real name is Sidney Royel Selby III. He’s on his first promotional trip to the UK, and is evidently still getting to grips with being interviewed. What’s totally clear, though, is how in awe he is of the position he’s found himself in. Asked to describe what ‘Panda’ now means to him (after conquering the US, it’s rising fast in the UK charts), he says it’s become “like a movie”.
But his meteoric rise hasn’t been without controversy. Similarities have been noted between Desiigner and Atlanta trap scene figurehead Future, with many fans convinced he was Future upon first hearing the song. The irony? ‘Panda’ is now more successful than any of Future’s own hits. Asked if any of this has made him second-guess himself, Desiigner is courteous and considered: “I definitely don’t worry about that,” he says. “I just do what I do.”
The tale behind ‘Panda’ won’t be all there is to his story for much longer. The release of his debut mixtape, ‘Trap History Month’, is imminent, and is apparently all he thinks about. “Right now, I’m talking to you and making music in my head,” he openly admits. “I want to keep doing this forever.”
DESIIGNER: THE DETAILS
Brooklyn, New York
Debut mixtape ‘Trap History Month’ is expected shortly; ‘Panda’ is out now
‘Panda’ was penned while Desiigner was playing Grand Theft Auto