There was a brief period where I appreciated Desiigner’s addition to rap, and that was some time after “Panda” was re-released in late February. The song had been blowing up on my Twitter timeline, and once I hit play, I was hooked.
But it took less than a month for the novelty to wear off, and I remember the exact moment when it did. It was mid-March, at The Fader Fort for SXSW. Desiigner was performing, and I was embarrassingly thrilled when his hypeman—dressed in a pair of jeans, a white tank top, and a plush panda costume head—preceded the Brooklyn rapper, who opened up with “Panda,” performed some extremely forgettable songs, and closed with “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 2.” I was bored.
Since then, I have actively avoided listening to anything that Desiigner touched. I didn’t urgently listen to the admittedly catchy “Timmy Turner” freestyle. I didn’t particularly enjoy the longer version, nor did I enjoy his feature on Tyga’s “Gucci Snakes.”
But I certainly love me some Pusha T (see King Push, Blowbama). So when his brand new single “Circles” dropped today and I saw Ty Dolla $ign’s name too, I was excited—until I saw Desiigner guested as well. My initial thought was that they’re still trying to force him on me, and at this point, I’m over it.
But for some reason, I still hit play—and I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, Desiinger’s ad-libs were a mild annoyance, but otherwise, his post-hook and bridge contributions weren’t so bad. He works best in limited capacities that help set the mood, and on “Circles,” his voice offsets Ty Dolla $ign’s ballad-like verses and the raw grittiness of Pusha’s flow.
Indeed, Desiigner might be a good guest feature artist. And while I wouldn’t say he’s got my endorsement just yet, he might be on his way.
By Tara Mahadevan. Follow her on Twitter.