At 19 years old Sidney Royel Selby III better known as Desiigner exploded on to the scene with a single that would reach number one on Billboard and bring his chaotic style to the forefront of hip hop. “Panda” quickly became popular because it’s the type of track that needs to be played multiple times to be understood and appreciated. From the infectious hook, hard trap production and lyrics that many took to Genius to decipher, “Panda” is a song that gets better with each listen and the charged feel of the song made me excited to hear what was next from the new rapper. I mean with a co-sign from Kanye West, a deal with G.O.O.D Music and a spot on XXL’s Freshman Class list this year, the progression from a hit single to a full fledged artist should be easy right? I thought I would automatically love Desiigner’s debut mixtape New English but after a few listens it had me wondering if the hype was overrated.
New English begins with a theatric, Disney sounding introduction that reminds of the background music of a cartoon princess being woken up by birds before the sound shifts to a more expected trap production. Throughout the 14 track introduction to the Brooklyn rapper, I’m reminded of the influence rappers like Future, Kanye West and Travis Scott have on hip hop’s current sound. When I hear Desiigner rap on “Caliber” and “Roll Wit Me” I can’t help but hear a codeine-free version of Future. Or production from dope producers like Mike Dean, Rico Beats and VADOR that is top notch, on trend and reminiscent of the more lit tracks that can be found on Travis Scott’s debut album Rodeo. There isn’t anything wrong with Desiigner trying to incorporate popular elements of rap into his music but there isn’t anything on this tape that sets him apart from any other rapper in the trap genre.
When Desiigner dropped a freestyle for the XXL Freshman Class cypher, people were blown away with his melodic, interesting reference to Nickelodeon character Timmy Turner and I think that creativity is what Desiigner should tap into for his debut album The Life of Desiigner. The melody is addictive and the change of production toward the end is so satisfying to hear. If Desiigner can capture the essence of “Panda” while utilizing the uniqueness of a sound like “Timmy Turner” I won’t be suprised when he joins the new roaster of artists currently influencing and killing the rap game in their own right. I most likely won’t return to New English for complete listens but I’ll definitely be giving The Life of Desiigner a spin when it drops.
Sidenote: “Da Day” is fire and I love Pusha T’s verse on “Jet”. Give those songs some love if you want to hear Desiigner’s potential.
What do you think of New English? Let me know in the comments