Desiigner is at an important crossroads in his career at the moment.
The Brooklyn rapper, who became instantly famous for his 2x Diamond-certified single “Panda” in 2016, led him to sign with Kanye West’s label G.O.O.D. Music – has been making a bit of a resurgence. But it’s his past he’s been trying to reconcile with in order to move on.
In 2019, Desiigner tweeted that he wanted out from his deal with ‘Ye’s imprint years after he released his debut mixtape New English and one year after his EP L.O.D. under G.O.O.D. During an interview with BET.com, he got specific about why he felt like he wasn’t getting the support he felt he needed at the time from the label’s boss.
“I wanted to speak to ‘Ye at this time,” Desiigner explains when he says he and Drake were discussing a possible collaborative single shortly after signing to West’s label. “I wanted to definitely get something going with my mixtape at that time with ‘Ye and I wanted him to tap in. I was hitting my attorneys and stuff and they wasn’t being able to tap in with him. He was having many attorneys and many different people I had to tap in to get to him.
“At that time, it was kind of frustrating because I wanted to put the project together and I wanted to be in a room with Kanye,” he continues. “That’s why I signed to Kanye West. I want to be in there like, yo bro, here’s what I’ve been putting together – from records with Rick Ross, Pharrell, here what I’ve got together. Let me hear some pointers, if you’ve got some pointers or to arrange certain things, just trying to get that advice from the OG and I feel like I wasn’t really getting it then.”
He adds: “Then I was posting songs and stuff, and I’m the new artist of the camp, and I wasn’t seeing some of the artists from my camp reposting. So I was like, aight bet, it’s probably something a little off. I feel like everybody probably not on the same thinking on that. So I just vibed out with it and it was that type of vibe with that.”
What made matters worse, Desiigner says, is that with the collaborations he was able to procure, due to the admiration of his hip-hop peers at the time, he still didn’t know what to do with some of them, along with putting a full project together, since he was so new to the game at the time.
“When Drizzy came around, I just was like, Yo, I want to [collaborate on a song] but I wanted somebody really to talk to you at this time,” he notes. “I got a lot of new money. I’m new fresh out the hood. I just needed somebody that could be like, Yo, put me on some A’s and B’s and some C’s real quick because I’m going to need that type of guidance through this journey right now. So that’s what I was trying to find and I couldn’t get it from bro and them.”
Looking back, Desiigner also recalled making his smash hit “Panda”, which he says was the first song he ever recorded.
“I was writing verses, I was making hooks and I always wanted to put my homeboy on the record. I was like, Yo, I gotta put somebody on the record. That’s why I started doing it creatively. I created that because my boy was handicapped and I wanted to change the swagger,” he notes. “I was always trying to do things swaggy even with features and s**t, trying to make it not just like a record.”
Shortly after making his Twitter request to Kanye, he would be released from G.O.O.D. Music. And while a career redirection was in order for Desiigner, the COVID-19 pandemic hit shortly afterward, which he says kept him away from building with artists, creating his own music consistently and more.
“We throw COVID behind us like it’s easy. We was in the crib for two years, it took us away from each other. I had to build that interaction again. That’s one thing I felt like COVID really did with me as well,” he explains. “Remember, I’m an artist, so I’m always thinking about just the frequency of everybody. I gotta always think about what’s on the news, new topics, and what we still going through.”
More recently, death has played a major factor in Desiigner’s drive to make a resurgence in rap. After the death of his friends PnB Rock in September and Takeoff in November, he went viral for his proclamation that he was quitting rap professionally because of the danger that came with it. It’s an emotion he says was very real just weeks ago, but isn’t what was ultimately in his heart.
“Take wouldn’t want me to stop bro,” he says of his efforts to continue his hip-hop career. “You got to keep going… keep going stronger and stronger in the heart and you will be okay.”
And that’s where Desiigner is at today.
Over the past few weeks, he’s released several singles, including “Kilo”, a heavy-hitting track featuring Rae Sremmurd’s Slim Jxmmi. It reminds hip-hop fans of the 25-year-old’s youthful energy and the evolution he’s experienced musically since dropping his mega-hit six years ago.
“I just jumped right on the mic, it was just instant, primetime” he explains. “The way that me and my team work, we got factory minds. This movement and just creating and hitting each other during the day, checking on each other during the week, we building vibes and it’s just great.”
The new song releases, which also include “My Brodie”, “Jaguar”, “Star In The Room” and Friday (December 9)’s drop of “Bigger and Bigger”, Desiigner is working his chops to build up to a full project release in 2023 he reveals is titled New Color, which he explains is about “embracing life and thinking about all of us as one.”
“I really want to make it universal, but really letting you feel like you see in these colors and it’s dope vibes how we’re gonna present it,” he says. “Put it out and see [it at] shows and how you’re gonna come out and experience the shows, and be like, ‘Wow.’ See the whole world I’m trying to show to y’all and bringing that vibe with it.”
Desiigner is also encouraged by what has been cropping up in his native Brooklyn over the past few years. With the emergence of drill in the Big Apple borough, by ways of artists like Bobby Shmurda, Fivio Foreign, Sheff G, Bizzy Banks, Kay Flock, and the late Pop Smoke, among others, he says it’s something that began cropping up around the time of “Panda”, which could be considered as a forbearer lyrically before the sliding drums of the UK sound became more prevalent shortly afterward.
“New York was in a drought. Bobby [Shmurda] had the block lit like everybody’s outside. We hearing that it’s lit over there. It just gave us a type of motivation. It was like yo, go get it, stay focused,” he says. Just seeing Pop [Smoke] and them and seeing them grow and seeing them come out of that. It was just like, it was like fire bro.”
In regards to his critics, who still contend that he sounds like “Future 2.0”, which he alluded to in a recent Instagram skit posting, it’s Desiigner’s carefree nature that might take him the furthest.
“All the side comments and all the stuff with Future – like I said in ‘Amen’, ‘They said I sound like Future’, but no, I am the future. Just keep it moving and I found ways that it’s motivation too. It made it a swaggy thing with it.”