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[INTERVIEW] DESIIGNER

After taking a small hiatus musically but touring with Steve Aoki, Desiigner is back and has blessed us with his undeniable energy in his most recent project L.O.D (Life Of Desiigner). Desiigner first came on

After taking a small hiatus musically but touring with Steve Aoki, Desiigner is back and has blessed us with his undeniable energy in his most recent project L.O.D (Life Of Desiigner). Desiigner first came on our radar with his huge hit ‘Panda’ back at the end of 2015/start of 2016. He followed that up with the single ‘Timmy Turner.’ Whilst releasing some singles here and there to keep us engaged. Signing to GOOD Music at the age of 18, Desiigner is one of the most promising prospects for Hip Hop and I’m sure we have only heard a sliver of what he has to offer. Now 21 years old, Desiigner has had some time to grow and delivered a very well rounded project. Desiigner shows off a more melodic, RnB side to us on tracks like ‘Destiination’ whilst giving us the energy and adlibs we love on tracks like ‘Tonka’ and ‘Price Tag.’ L.O.D is definitely a project worth listening to. I had a chat with Desiigner about what he’s been up to, what his project is about and why on earth he has so much energy 24/7.

How does it feel coming back?

Desiigner: It feels amazing bro. I’m just happy to really be back and with my supporters and giving them a project and letting them be able to touch me in a whole other emotion, a whole other feeling. You get to understand me now. It’s more fun now. Just turning up and being able to give more to my supporters and never forgetting that. I could never leave like that again. We back you know!

What have you been doing otherwise? I know you’ve been on tour with Steve Aoki.

Desiigner: Heck yeah man! Shout out my brother Steve Aoki man! Shout out everybody man. Mura Masa, the whole move man. Diplo. Shoutout Diplo. Suicidal the California project. Shout out everybody bro.

What were you doing aside from the tour? Were you recording? 

Desiigner: Man it was amazing. Besides from the tour I’ve been in Hawaii man, a lot of the recording bit of this [I did it] in Hawaii. Doing music, doing movies. Coming off sets day and night, sleeping in cars and just going man. Just keeping it going, applying the pressure.

So it’s now: Singer, rapper, actor/movie star…

Desiigner: Ya dig, all that man, you gotta bring the package.

You’re still very young. How was it signing to GOOD Music, one of the coolest labels in Hip-hop right now at the age of 18? 

Desiigner: Being signed with GOOD Music and being part of the movement and the artists throughout the team, it’s so dope. I love it man. Yeah at 18. I always just see myself being in a great spot. So yeah God put me in the right direction.

Did you feel overwhelmed at all during the time of getting signed? Because this is GOOD Music, this is Kanye West and Pusha T. You were about to be playing in the big leagues. 

Desiigner: It was a great time. I didn’t feel overwhelmed. But I damn sure felt real excited because I never wanted to tell myself that I don’t see myself somewhere or I can’t do this. I was just super excited you know. Just to be apart of Pusha [‘s team]. Just to be in front of the *Desiigner does Pusha T’s ‘yeeah’ adlib*. Just thinking about everything when I see them. I’m coming [from the] Brooklyn area so I didn’t see things like that. And just being around greatness and great artistry: Kanye West, John Legend, Teyana Taylor. People like that bro, it’s amazing man.

Some legends there man.

Desiigner: Heck yeah man first time I was in my big studio in New York. Pusha pulled up on me and we was just kikin, vibing. It was just like a family vibe always. So everyone just connects, we like brothers and cousins and shit haha.

Are you good friends with Teyana Taylor? Do you speak to her much?

Desiigner: Heck yeah! Shout out Teyana man! Iman Shumpert! He was in the party. Me and Shump was in the party all last night. My big bro. We was partying all last night. Teyana was supposed to come but she has a show yesterday. But she’s coming to New York today. She’s gonna be at the party tonight and it’s gonna be crazy man. Shoutout Shump, shout out Junie the baby, we all lit haha.

What was your favourite song to make on your latest project LOD?

Desiigner: I’m not gon’ lie man I love LA to NY bro. I love price tag. It all came from like hype ass moments for me. I ain’t gon’ lie. If you was in the studio with me them days you’d be like ‘ahhhhh.’ It was really just like the great moments man. Going through it…I would say this right now, because I really love my project. Imma say LA to NY. That Tonka bro is fucking crazy. I ain’t gon’ lie that Tonka’s crazy. Or destination bro, them three right there. LA to NY, Tonka and Destination.

You didn’t even put ‘price tag’ in there. And you released a video for that too. I like the video too man.

Desiigner: Thank you man. I appreciate it. Yo man them kids was killing it man. What was your favourite part from the video?

When you were wiling out on the table, doing your little dance. 

Desiigner: Haha yo that was hard! Yo did you see when I was doing the one handed push ups, I was really working out right there! That was a real one handed push up!

Speak to me about ‘After Party’

Desiigner: Shout out ‘After Party’ man. JSDG-Best Brooklyn young new producer man! And the crazy thing is I’ll tell you the story on how me and him connected. My projects is down the block from his projects when we was growing up. And as a kid we used to have problems. Like our projects used to shoot at each other and everything. But it’s just like yo, bro it’s crazy how we got on and made a song called ‘After Party’ and it’s just beautiful man. Heck Yeah!

That’s what it’s all about man. Coming together. 

Desiigner: Heck yeah man! It’s about building up you know. Growing up, looking at the past, throwing certain things in the garbage and moving on.

I heard you’re into anime…

Desiigner: Heck yeah, of course!

What’s your favourite? 

Desiigner: Well Dragon Ball Z of course. The old cell. The old freezer. It’s amazing bro.

Listening to your music I can hear gospel influences. You make your voice sound like an organ at times. During the breakdown of a song, you make very melodic runs over the 808’s or the drums. I’ve heard it in Tonka, Timmy Turner and a few other tracks. Is Gospel music something you draw inspiration from? 

Desiigner: Thank you bro. Yeah definitely. I said that the other day in my phantom when I was talking to my driver I was like yo I really always try to bring like a triumphant [or] like an Olympic sound. It sounds like you’re in a godly type mood and it’s keeping that influence in my harmonies and stuff. So yeah, that’s definitely an influence.

So Desiigner is who we know and you’re real name is Sidney. How is Desiigner different to Sidney the third? Is there even a difference or are you just turnt 24/7?

Desiigner: Ah man when I’m with mommy and dad, they turnt too. Imma be honest I get my energy from my mom. My mom is the most turnt and just happy! She just wanna be doing the *Desiigner adlib* haha. You know what I’m saying. It’s a great time. My pops is more on the chilled side so when you see the chilled side of me you could say that’s more of my pops. But definitely, my mom has given me the energy.

So your mom is where the adlibs came from?

Desiigner: Yeah man! My mom she like *more Desiigner adlibs*. Always joking. Like we was at my listening party and she grabs the mic from me and goes *Desiigner adlib* haha and it was lit man. They just having fun man. Nobody wants to be stressed. Nobody wants to feel stress. Everybody just wants to have a good time. And when you can, let it out. Be yourself. And that’s what they always taught me. Just be myself, don’t worry about anybody else, always be yourself. And that’s what I did.

I think that oozes through your music. There’s that authenticity and realness. It’s consistent on all platforms, social media, music etc…You’re just being yourself. 

Desiigner: Thank you. I feel like all my supporters that’s with me and everybody even you. I just want everybody to embrace it and enjoy me and watch the growth because when I do the show, they’re gonna be way more enjoyable. I want this shit playing and we having fun. Music is built off of fun, it’s built for the experience for all types of emotions. It could be from the sickness in the family, you know. My father came from having cancer in the middle of this project and on tour so just having that apart of the situation and my pops beating cancer at the end of the tour, it’s amazing man. It’s more to embrace, it’s more for me to *Desiigner adlib* about, it’s more for me to have fun and do it with my supporters.

What are your hobbies outside of music?

Desiigner: So right now as we speak man in front of me in the next room I got fortnite with the wireless controller, I was just connected. I was just about to play some fortnite. Playing games, being with my homeboys outside in the cars driving. Going shopping of course, movies. But I like to have fun you know. So one weekend I might just say yo let’s go skydiving, go on a dangerous [trip], just have a great time. Just keeping the body doing things that it’s not used to.

What other video games do you play?

I play fortnite. I got the panda rush app on my phone, everybody make sure you go get that on Itunes. It’s me and the panda and I’m riding around, cops chasing us. I’m playing that on the phone, it’s dope as hell! Also, Call of Duty another one. Halo. I’m a big fan of everything man, the PS4 and Xbox, both platforms. Anything that’s trending or anything that’s popping: Call of Duty, Halo, Gears of Wa…it goes on and on bruh.

Games help you get creative. Try to watch video games and keep watching cartoons. Never turn off the video games and never turn off your favourite cartoons. I tell you, it puts you in the place every time.

Yeah, it keeps you young.

Desiigner: Yeah it keeps the mind fresh. You’re not thinking about these bullshit ass bills we gotta pay or whatever that’s going on. Just keeping the mind fresh, keeping it doing what you wanna do always keeps the mind happy and more creative.

Finally Desiigner, what would your advice be to kids your age or between the ages of 18-25 that are trying to ‘make it’? 

Desiigner: I would tell everybody man just always see your destination. When you see where you wanna go, don’t let it up because other distractions are distracting you. See that destination. And use that as an advantage in your life. Don’t take this for granted. Life is definitely what you choose it to be and where you want to go. Just keep that goal. I was 18, in and out of high school and doing the same thing that a lot of these kids is doing. So being focused for me [is important]. Even with my moms and everybody was telling me you have to go to school in the morning. Not saying bunk school but I just really had to go be focused. I had to grind, I had to wake up because I see myself in a position that can better my whole family. So what’s helped me a lot is knowing my destination. I was just like yo stay focused. And that’s what I’ll tell everybody. Stay focused. Keep God first, pray, keep it going man, know your destination and you will fulfil it and achieve your goal.

Words by Dylan Aroloye

 

dylanaroloye@live.co.uk

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