Brooklyn emcee Desiigner first emerged in 2015 when his second single ‘Panda’ went viral on SoundCloud. The beat, which was initially uploaded to YouTube by UK-based producer Menace, was purchased by the Bedford-Stuyvesant rhymer earlier that year and recorded shortly after.
When ‘Panda’ began circulating the internet on social media sites such as TikTok, Snapchat and SoundCloud, it accrued millions of streams and in its ninth week, the single managed to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100. This rapid success caught the eye of music mogul Kanye West, who sampled the beat for a track on his 2016 project, The Life of Pablo. However, as well as sampling the song, he also signed its creator.
Before his 2022 manic episode that saw West spout extremist anti-semitism and play fast and loose with racist talking points, Kanye was the head of the Def Jam imprint, G.O.O.D Music. With acts such as Kid Cudi, Big Sean and Pusha T on its roster, the label was a bastion of high-end talent. However, Desiigner didn’t feel like he was getting treated well when he was signed to Kanye.
Speaking to DJ Vlad in an interview for Vlad TV, Desiigner (real name Sidney Selby III) explained how he had problems contacting Kanye West directly and a lack of creative help from those around him at the label. He also stressed how the team knew he was taking care of his sick father at the time.
Opening up about why he cut ties with G.O.O.D Music, Selby explained, “The reason why I left Ye is ’cause I was going through a little mental thing. I was just coming up out of high school, and my pop’s just went into a coma. While I was on tour, I was having a great time, but I just knew something at home was happening with my mom and my pop’s health and shit.”
He continued, “I wanted Ye to talk to, and it was hard to speak on it. So I wound up just like, I don’t know man, I was just going through it. I had like a young emotional stage at that time, but I was having so much fun, bro.”
Selby opened up about how he was seeking guidance and mentorship during his time with G.O.O.D Music but felt like he had been thrown into the deep end. He added, “I couldn’t express myself, what was going on at the crib to my label mates.”
Unveiling that his expectations were unrealistic, Selby admitted that he was looking for a sibling at the label, stating, “I just wanted somebody, like that big brother stuff, at the same time as being in the label. Not just like, ‘Hey yo, Desiigner.'”
Desiigner ended up leaving G.O.O.D Music in 2019 but has since become a poster child of the one-hit wonder phenomenon in hip-hop, with many not knowing any of his music except for ‘Panda’. You can watch Selby’s interview with DJ Vlad below.