Out of all the features on Kanye West’s The Life Of Pablo, one artist stood out amongst Chance The Rapper, Rihanna, Kelly Price and Chris Brown: Desiigner.
Recent G.O.O.D. Music signee Desiigner (born as Sidney Shelby III) skyrocketed to the scene with his club banger “Panda,” when it released in the week before Christmas. Kanye announced his new addition in early February, cosigning “Panda” by interpolating it onto the third track on his new album “Pt. 2.”
Born in Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn, New York (notable for giving the world Jay Z, Aaliyah, Biggie Smalls, Chris Rock, and Mos Def), Desiigner went from unknown Soundcloud artist to household name in a matter of two months, with “Panda” garnering over 3.7 million streams. A member of local choirs at his school and church, Desiigner started rapping at 14, which is also the same age that he was shot.
The inspiration for “Panda” came from the video game Grand Theft Auto, when Desiigner realized that the white BMW X6 featured in the game resembled a panda. From that, he laid down the hook on a beat bought from producer Menace for $200. With a finished hook, he intended to sell the song to a more established artist before his manager encouraged him to complete the song — a task that took over a year and half to culminate.
After the completion and release of “Panda,” a bidding war began between the labels, with Cash Money and G.O.O.D. Music among some of the more notable names. G.O.O.D. president Pusha T had alluded to be in talks with new artists around the time before the explosion of the song, leading many to speculate that they were behind the viral sensation that the track became.
Kanye was spotted around Los Angeles with Desiigner in late January (after their first meeting in a car outside of LAX), making the official announcement at his TLOP listening party/fashion show on Feb. 11. At the showcase, Kanye debuted “Pt.2,” a song that took verses from “Panda” and welded it around a Plain Pat and Rick Rubin production.
Despite the line “I got broads in Atlanta,” the 18-year-old has never been to ATL, which is interesting considering the constant Future comparisons. With the similar, mumbly, slurred tone and vocal quality, he is usually referred to as a “knock-off Future,” a name that does not seem to bode well with the 6’5” rapper.
“It is what it is…we don’t really care,” he said to ThisIs50, in a later interview stating that Future is only a minor influence, claiming that his next batch of music will prove everyone wrong. “He does his thing…I think he’s a great artist…just know I have plenty more music.”
The success of his breakout single “Panda,” and straight-out-the-gate feature on “Pt.2” is setting a high precedent for Desiigner’s upcoming debut mixtape Trap History Month, which is supposed to be releasing to coincide with Black History Month, which ends in a couple of days.
“Keep tuning in.”