Sidney Royel Selby III (born May 3, 1997), better known by his stage name Desiigner, is an American rapper, singer and songwriter. In December 2015, his debut single "Panda" reached number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. In 2019, he was released from Def Jam and is currently an independent artist.

Desiigner performing in 2018
Desiigner performing in 2018
Background information
Birth nameSidney Royel Selby III
Also known as
  • Dezol
  • Designer Royel
Born (1997-05-03) May 3, 1997 (age 25)
New York City, U.S.
  • Rapper
  • singer
  • songwriter
Years active2015–present

Early lifeEdit

Desiigner was born on May 3, 1997,[1] in Brooklyn, New York City.[2][3] He is of Afro-Barbadian and African American descent,[4] and is the grandson of blues musician Sidney "Guitar Crusher" Selby. He grew up in the Louis Armstrong housing projects in the Bedford–Stuyvesant neighborhood.[5] He began practicing vocals at school choir and church. At the age of 14, he embarked on his musical career.[6][7]


Desiigner embarked on his music career under his original nickname Dezolo,[8] before he began putting out work on these tracks under the alias of Designer Royel, especially with Royel (his middle name). His sister convinced him to drop the "Royel" part and then keep the "Designer" part as his new stage name, doubling the "I"'s. On December 3, 2015, under his new pseudonym, Desiigner released his debut track, called "Zombie Walk". The song was produced by The Shell God.[9] On December 15, 2015, Desiigner released his commercial debut single, titled "Panda" on SoundCloud.[10] The song released on iTunes within five days later, before being re-released as of February 2016.[11] On February 11, 2016, Desiigner signed a recording contract with Kanye West's GOOD Music imprint, under the aegis of Def Jam Recordings.[12] After signing a record deal, Desiigner subsequently appeared on two tracks — "Pt. 2" (which features an interpolation of "Panda") and "Freestyle 4" — that was taken from Kanye West's seventh album The Life of Pablo. Desiigner then went on to perform at the 2016's South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival.[13][14] In an interview with Billboard, Desiigner confirmed the release of his first upcoming mixtape, titled Trap History Month.[15]

On May 5, 2016, producer Mike Dean announced that he would be serving as the executive producer for Desiigner's upcoming debut studio album.[16] On May 24, Desiigner announced that the title to his upcoming debut album would be called The Life of Desiigner.[17] In June 2016, XXL magazine revealed their annual "Freshmen Class" for 2016, and Desiigner was included on the list with nine other new artists.[18] In June 2016, "Champions" was released as the lead single from the GOOD Music's upcoming compilation album, Cruel Winter. Desiigner made a guest appearance on this track, alongside his label-mate Kanye West, and other rappers such as Gucci Mane, Big Sean, 2 Chainz, Travis Scott, Yo Gotti and Quavo.[19] In the same month, Desiigner made his US television debut, when he performed his single, "Panda" at the 2016's BET Awards.[20] On June 26, 2016, Desiigner released his first full-length mixtape, titled New English on Tidal, following a live premiere of the mixtape on June 22.[21][22] In July 2016, American pop singer Demi Lovato brought out Desiigner at their concert in New York.[23] On July 21, 2016, Desiigner premiered the track, called "Tiimmy Turner", which was released as a single on iTunes the next day.[24] Desiigner appeared as a special guest on the Netflix series Bill Nye Saves the World. On November 7, 2017, it was reported that BTS would release a remix of their song "Mic Drop" featuring Desiigner and remixed by Steve Aoki. It was set to be released on November 17, 2017, but was postponed and released on November 24, 2017, instead.

Desiigner (right) with RajaRose in April 2018

On May 3, 2018, Desiigner announced via social media that his debut EP, L.O.D., would be released at midnight on May 4, 2018.[25]

In 2020, Desiigner released "Diva" under his independent label LOD Records.[26]

In a 2022 interview with VladTV, Desiigner explained why he left GOOD Music in 2019, saying he was "going through a little mental thing" including his father having been comatose, and had tried to contact Kanye and his other labelmates for guidance but didn't receive any.[27][28]

Legal issuesEdit

On September 8, 2016, Desiigner and three other people were arrested in New York City, after a 911 caller claimed that he pulled a gun on them. Desiigner was later found in an SUV with four other people and the vehicle was searched. The police allegedly found oxycodone and guns, for which he and the other individuals received drug and weapon charges. They were all detained in custody.[29][30] On September 10, 2016, his felony gun charge was dropped by prosecutors.[31] He was cleared of the charges on September 12, 2016, when it was found that the pills were anabolic steroids belonging to his driver.[32]

Musical styleEdit

Desiigner's musical style is influenced by Southern hip hop, namely trap music which originated in Atlanta, Georgia.[15] His rapping technique and vocals have been heavily compared to that of Atlanta-based rapper Future. When asked about the frequent comparisons, he told Complex: "God gave him a blessing, but he gave me a blessing too. I ain't gonna doubt the man's music. He make beautiful music too. Music is made every day. Big ups to him, big ups to Future. I actually like Future's music. I like his music, you feel me. I'm not a hater or a critic on him, you know, I do me. God bless him, God bless me."[33]


Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Nominee Result Ref.
2016 Teen Choice Awards Choice Music: R&B/Hip-Hop Song "Panda" Nominated [34]
MTV Video Music Awards Best New Artist Himself Nominated [35]
Best Hip-Hop Video "Panda" Nominated
BET Hip Hop Awards Best Hip Hop Video Nominated [36]
People's Champ Award Nominated
Best New Hip Hop Artist Himself Nominated
MTV Video Music Awards Japan Best Hip Hop Video "Panda" Nominated [37]
American Music Awards Video of the Year Nominated [38]
Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Song Nominated
WatsUp TV Africa Music Video Awards WatsUp TV Viewers Choice Award Won [39]
2017 Grammy Awards Best Rap Performance Nominated [40]
iHeartRadio Music Awards Hip-Hop Song of the Year Nominated [41]
Hip-Hop Artist of the Year Himself Nominated
Best New Hip-Hop Artist Nominated
Billboard Music Awards Top New Artist Himself Nominated [42]
Top Streaming Songs Artist Nominated
Top Rap Artist Nominated
Top Streaming Song (Video) "Panda" Won
Top Rap Song Won


  1. ^ Trust, Gary (April 25, 2016). "Desiigner's 'Panda' Claws to No. 1 on Hot 100, Bringing Americans Back to the Top". Billboard. Retrieved April 26, 2016. Desiigner is 18 years and 11 months old; he'll turn 19 on May 3.
  2. ^ "The New Wave: Desiigner – "Panda"". Pigeons & Planes. February 9, 2016.
  3. ^ emmanuel (February 19, 2016). "The Break Presents: Desiigner". XXL Mag.
  4. ^ Hughes, Aria (May 17, 2016). "Meet Desiigner: The Elusive and Kanye West-Mentored Rapper". Retrieved May 13, 2017.
  5. ^ "Desiigner on His Difficult Past and How His No. 1 Hit 'Panda' Gave Him a Way Out". Billboard. June 9, 2016.
  6. ^ "Everything You Need To Know About Desiigner". HotNewHipHop. February 22, 2016. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  7. ^ "Desiigner Freestyle and talks Panda & Kanye". KISS FM UK. May 3, 2016. Retrieved May 24, 2016.
  8. ^ "Desiigner – Music Videos, News, Photos, Tour Dates – MTV". MTV. Retrieved July 1, 2016.
  9. ^ Desiigner Ft. King Savage- "Zombie Walk" (Prod. By: @TheShellGod). December 3, 2015 – via YouTube.
  10. ^ Desiigner- Panda (OFFICIAL SONG) Prod. By: Menace. December 20, 2015 – via YouTube.
  11. ^ "Panda – Single". iTunes Store (US). February 26, 2016. Retrieved April 18, 2016.
  12. ^ Danny Schwartz (February 11, 2016). "Brooklyn Rapper Desiigner Signs To G.O.O.D. Music". HotNewHipHop.
  13. ^ Chris Mench (March 16, 2016). "Desiigner Courts More Future Comparisons, Debuts New Song "Pluto at SXSW".
  14. ^ "Desiigner Debuts New Song "Pluto" & Performs "Panda" at SXSW".
  15. ^ a b Peltz, Jonathan (April 12, 2016). "'Panda' Rapper Desiigner on Why His Mind Operates in a 'Crazy' Way and Working With Kanye West". Billboard. Retrieved April 17, 2016.
  16. ^ J. Pablo Caraballo (May 6, 2016). "'Lemonade' Producer Mike Dean Gives the Behind-the-Scenes Scoop on Beyoncé's Opus". Billboard.
  17. ^ "Desiigner Announces "Life Of Desiigner" Album". HipHopDX. May 24, 2016. Retrieved July 1, 2016.
  18. ^ "2016 XXL Freshman Class Cover – XXL". Retrieved July 1, 2016.
  19. ^ "Kanye West premieres new single with Gucci Mane, Travis Scott and more off Cruel Winter". XXL. Retrieved July 10, 2016.
  20. ^ "Desiigner Performs 'Panda' and Turns Up the BET Awards". BET. Retrieved July 1, 2016.
  21. ^ "Desiigner Plays New Song Featuring Pusha T at 'New English' Mixtape Listening Party". XXL. June 22, 2016.
  22. ^ "Listen to Desiigner's 'New English' Mixtape". Complex. June 26, 2016.
  23. ^ "Demi Lovato & Nick Jonas Bring the 'Future' of Pop Music to Brooklyn". Billboard. July 9, 2016.
  24. ^ "Tiimmy Turner – Single by Desiigner on Apple Music". iTunes. July 22, 2016.
  25. ^ "Desiigner Announces 'L.O.D.' Release Date". May 3, 2018. Retrieved May 3, 2018.
  26. ^ "Diva – Single by Desiigner". March 6, 2020.
  27. ^ Blake, Cole (September 10, 2022). "Desiigner Explains Why He Parted Ways With Kanye West's G.O.O.D. Music". HotNewHipHop. Retrieved September 11, 2022.
  28. ^ Jefferson, Devon (September 10, 2022). "Desiigner Explains Why He Really Left Kanye West's G.O.O.D. Music". HipHopDX. Retrieved September 11, 2022.
  29. ^ "Desiigner charged in gun-pointing road rage incident in Midtown". New York Daily News.
  30. ^ "Desiigner -- Arrested for Drugs, Intent to Sell and Loaded Gun (UPDATED PHOTOS + VIDEO)".
  31. ^ Augustin, Camille (September 10, 2016). "Desiigner acquitted of gun charge". Vibe. Retrieved September 10, 2016.
  32. ^ Simmons, Ted (September 12, 2016). "Drugs found in desiigner's car were steroids". XXL. Retrieved September 12, 2016.
  33. ^ "Interview: Desiigner Talks About the Success of "Panda" and Comparisons to Future". Complex. February 19, 2016. Retrieved March 29, 2016.
  34. ^ "Teen Choice Awards 2016: Jelena, 'Pretty Little Liars' & More Score Nods In Second Wave". June 9, 2016. Retrieved December 19, 2016.
  35. ^ "Beyonce, Adele Lead Nominees for 2016 MTV Video Music Awards". Billboard. July 26, 2016. Retrieved July 26, 2016.
  36. ^ "Here Are the Nominees for BET's 2016 Hip-Hop Awards". Complex. August 18, 2016. Retrieved December 19, 2016.
  37. ^ "Nominees Announced for the MTV Video Music Awards Japan 2016". ARAMA Japan. September 1, 2016. Retrieved December 19, 2016.
  38. ^ "AMAs 2016: See the Full List of Winners". Billboard. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  39. ^ Mawuli, David (December 28, 2016). "WAMVA 2016: Diamond Platnumz, Shatta Wale, Beyonce win big; see full list of winners". Retrieved May 13, 2017.
  40. ^ "Here Is the Complete List of Nominees for the 2017 Grammys". Billboard. December 6, 2016. Retrieved December 19, 2016.
  41. ^ "Here's The Complete List Of #iHeartAwards Winners | iHeartRadio Music Awards | iHeartRadio". iHeartRadio. Archived from the original on March 6, 2017. Retrieved March 12, 2017.
  42. ^ "Drake, The Chainsmokers Lead Nominees for the 2017 Billboard Music Awards". Billboard. April 10, 2017. Retrieved April 10, 2017.

External linksEdit