In today’s Hip Hop landscape, only a select few artists have earned the fan loyalty that allows them to put out one album a year and stay in listeners’ collective psyches. For everyone else, being prolific is a necessary component of relevance.
For 21-year-old Desiigner, hits like “Panda” and “Timmy Turner” set him on course for A-list status. Then, as it often does, life threw a wrench in the whole plan. His father was dianosed with cancer, which hit the pause button on making music.
As his pops progressed with treatments, Desiigner hit the road with Steve Aoki, whose father also battled cancer. The two forged a bond and when they came off tour, the G.O.O.D. Music artists was blessed with some great news.
“I owe a lot to Steve Aoki for just keeping my spirit going,” Desiigner told HipHopDX at his EP release party in Los Angeles. “He told me about his father and how his father had passed away from it so we really was bonding while we were on tour together. We were just praying for pops and after the tour, he wound up beating the cancer. It definitely made me appreciate life more and appreciate time more just knowing that time is my only competition.”
More than two years after his breakthrough single “Panda” was released, Desiigner finally dropped his debut EP L.O.D. and is now prepping a full-length album titled Sidney. A lot has changed since the Bed-Stuy native burst onto the scene. There’s been an influx of pharmaceutical mascots and an abundance of face tattoos.
New York’s latest sensation, Tekashi 6ix9ine, is already claiming the city’s crown. Desiigner is cool with the current landscape though and says the people ultimately determine who’s the top dog.
“[The fans] know what time it is,” he said. “I done sold 15 million, I done did what I’m doing. Let [6ix9ine] do him. Y’all know what time it is. The supporters are gonna show who [the King of N.Y.] is. He got his supporters, he’s in his own world. Me and him don’t make the same type of music but let him do him. He bigging his self up. He got nice inspiration.”
While on the subject of competition, Desiigner drew a blank when asked about Joyner Lucas, who penned an unflattering remix of “Panda” after the song’s release in 2016. Apparently, Desiigner does not recall.
“Who?” Desiigner asked when the “I’m Not Racist” rapper’s name was mentioned, adding, “I don’t know who that is.”
One thing that hasn’t changed for Desiigner is his adlibs. His ability to roll his “R’s” is something he developed as a child and remains prevalent in his music, as heard on L.O.D.
“It was all in school man,” he recalled. “I remember in school my homeboys used to ask me how I rolled my tongue. It was in third grade. I used to [roll my tongue] and then as time went on, everybody started asking me ‘How you do that shit?’ And I just wound up putting it in my music and intertwining it in my stories of us growing up.
“Coming from Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, you hear gunshots and all that, so I just give it that feeling and give it that ‘rrrrrrr-ah.’ So when you feel that and you feel the drums and you feel the cadence, you feel everything and it becomes a part of the music as an instrument. I use it more as an instrument now.”
With such a big personality, Desiigner isn’t limiting himself to music. In fact, his break into Hollywood is coming in the form of one of the most star-studded films of the year.
“I’m in Ocean’s 8 coming up,” he noted. “I can’t talk too much about the part, but I’m in Ocean’s 8. Big movies. I’m making moves in all areas of the entertainment business, fashion world, real estate, everything. I’m growing up. 21st birthday just passed. You’re watching Desiigner grow and become a man. L.O.D. out now. Make sure y’all run that now. Make sure y’all go crazy on that. Sidney coming out real soon.”
This guy is definitely living the liife.