Desiigner's "Panda": Why This Song Sucks

Something happened while mulling over Kanye West's The Life of Pablo. Somewhere around track three, the second portion of "Father Stretch My Hands," West hands things over to a Brooklyn rapper named Desiigner. If you saw him in the street, Desiigner looks like rap's most unsuspecting buzzmaker. His viral hit, "Panda," is the song attached to "Father Stretch My Hands," which is an incredible look for a relative unknown who has only two records on his Soundcloud page — total.

Before we carefully explain why "Panda" should be wiped off the face of the Earth, we need to address the bigger, pink elephant in the room: Who the fuck is Desiigner?

History: Desiigner, a Brooklyn teenager who looks like a facsimile Iman Shumpert, has been accused of sounding like Atlanta's own provider of happiness, joy and trap spirituals — Future. Ask any random person who didn't scan the liner notes of The Life of Pablo and heard "Father Stretch My Hands, Pt. 2": He will swear to you he heard Future on the record.

Then tell them it was a guy from Brooklyn who sounds like a guy from Atlanta: They will look like a child who found out Santa Claus wasn't real. Like finding out Hulk Hogan is a racist. Desiigner is now signed to G.O.O.D Music, only has two records (“Panda,” “Zombie Walk”) and recently had one of the more bizarre big-stage concerts in recent memory. Even when he has a live show (an actual show!), Desiigner spends more time dancing to "Panda" and his small four-bar verse from "Freestyle 4." According to a recent report, he treats those records the way Jay Z and Kanye treated "Niggas In Paris." Only that they aren't that damn good.

So, Desiigner's original sin is that he's not that great of a rapper. There are some regional faults and nitpicks here and there, but "Panda"? "Panda" is a convoluted mess of a trap song that has shit to do with anything.

Actually, I take that back. “Panda” is all about the BMW X6 that Desiigner had during the making of the song.

Why Does This Song Suck?
It’s composed of one long-ass hook and one extra-long verse. The chorus mentions broads in Atlanta (he’s never been to Atlanta); robbing bandos (Atlanta slang for a trap house, which also means a bando doesn’t exist in New York); having pockets that are fat like Danny DeVito; and being Macho like Randy Savage. Let us realize that now and forever, “Macho Man” Randy Savage was a one-of-a-kind treasure. No one will ever compare Desiigner’s idea of macho to that of Randy Savage. Nowhere near it.

Desiigner argues his goons are willing to pull up on you in a high-priced luxury vehicle. Which means Desiigner’s goons are about as believable as Jidenna’s. Actually, fear Jidenna’s goons far more than you would Desiigner's because it’s quite clear that no one on G.O.O.D Music is actually tough. Except for maybe Pusha T. Pusha T still has braids, and that makes him the seventh most fearful person on Earth. Kawhi Leonard is sixth. First? Angry Danny Trejo.

Where “Panda” ultimately sucks and creeps into repetitive drool that currently has one section of the rap world happy and joyous? That chorus. It literally bleeds into the actual verse where Desiigner plays Future mad-libs and he’s tested with filling out an 18-bar verse. UK producer Menace says he was paid $200 for “Panda,” a hyperactive trap beat that could sound like maybe nine other songs on the radio, complete with those verbal kicks that you've probably heard on a Future record before.

Is Desiigner an industry plant? Probably. Does “Panda” get the party going? Sure. It also panders to a whole region that spent the first part of its rap life getting away from New York and now finds itself getting used like a succubus from almost every corner of the country that isn’t California. In short, “Panda” wants to be amazing. By this time in a month, you probably will forget it even exists.

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Brandon Caldwell has been writing about music and news for the Houston Press since 2011. His work has also appeared in Complex, Noisey, the Village Voice & more.
Contact: Brandon Caldwell