Desiigner is the stage name of Sidney Royel Selby III, a talented American singer, songwriter, rapper, record producer, and actor, who achieved stardom with the launch of his first single “Panda” in 2016. The song ultimately went to top the charts on the US ‘Billboard Hot 100’. The acclaimed rapper Kayne West was very impressed when he listened to the song and signed up Desiigner for his recording label ‘Good’. He lent his voice for two distinct tracks included in ‘The Life of Pablo’ which was the 7th studio album of Kanye West. Thereafter Desiigner collaborated with rapper and colleague, Phresher and the duo came up with several tracks, prominent amongst them being “On the Low” and “Danny DeVito”. A close friend of Desiigner suggested him to repurpose a song he had heard on YouTube which was eventually superimposed with rap, pop, R&B and trap elements. The reworked track described Sidney’s fondness for BMW X6 which according to him resembled a panda. Desiigner remains occupied in the studio pad of Kanye for the better part of the day and is making the most out of his camaraderie with the iconic rapper. However, he maintains a strict upper-lip when it comes to elucidating on his forthcoming projects.
In the initial phase of Sidney’s professional career, he recorded songs under the soubriquet ‘Dezolo’ and later on the epithet was altered to ‘Desiigner Royel’. However, when his sister recommended Sidney to retain only the ‘Desiigner’ component and do away with the ‘Royel’, he found the tweaking quite appealing and the new alias stuck. “Zombie Walk” became the first song to be launched under the new stage name; the song was launched on 3 December 2015.
Designer made his commercial debut on December 15, 2015, with the single "Panda" on SoundCloud. The song was re-released in February 2016. In the same month, Desiigner inked a deal to record music under the label ‘GOOD Music’ owned and managed by Kanye West.
Afterwards, he featured on a couple of tracks integrated in ‘The Life of Pablo’ which was Kanye’s 7th studio record. Thereafter, Desiigner gave a performance in the ‘South by Southwest’ music event. He revealed to Billboard in a talk that he’d soon be launching his mixtape trap named ‘Trap History Month’.
On 24 May 2016, Desiigner made it known that he’d be naming his forthcoming first studio album ‘The Life of Designer’ which would be produced by Mike Dean who also worked with Kanye West. Desiigner also went to feature as a guest performer in the lead single of the upcoming album ‘Cruel Winter’ named “Champions”. The single was released in June 2016 under the aegis of Kanye West’s ‘Good Music’ recording label.
Desiigner featured on the track along with Kanye and other rappers including Quavo, Travis Scott, 2 Chainz, Big Sean, and Gucci Mane. He debuted on television by crooning his first single “Panda” at the ‘BET Awards 2016’. He belted out a live performance of his debut mixtape LP ‘New English’ on 22 June 2016 and four days later, ‘Tide’—a recording label—put it up for sale.
Desiigner has performed as a guest actor in ‘Bill Nye Saves the World’—a TV series produced by Netflix.
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Controversies & Scandals
Desiigner was arrested on 8 September 2016, in New York City for being in possession of controlled substances and firearms. As reported by a spokesperson of the NYPD (New York Police Department), Desiigner and his co-passengers travelling in a SUV had an altercation with a person driving a Cadillac Escalade. In the incident which occurred near the junction of 42nd Street and 9th Avenue, there was a heated verbal duel between Desiigner and the victim following which a gun was aimed at the complainant’s vehicle. Law enforcement officials from the NYPD subsequently comprehended Desiigner and three other passengers in the SUV after the victim dialed 911.
Desiigner was born in Brooklyn, New York on 3rd May 1997. His family is of Barbadian descent. He spent his growing up years in the Bedford-Stuyvesant locality of Brooklyn and started singing from an early age, lending his voice in the school choir. He began composing music under the pseudonym ‘Dezolo’ when he was just 14 years old. Designer admits to have been hugely influenced by his paternal grandfather, Sidney Selby, who was a consummate blues musician and released several albums under the stage name ‘Guitar Crusher’.