Desiigner review – platinum welcome for rising rap star
Published in Guardian on 2016-11-20T15:54:31+00:00

When I say Panda, you say Gang! cajoles Desiigners DJ. When I say Good, you say Music! From the number of times he repeats it during this brief show, you might infer that Desiigners status as one of 2016s breakout rappers is founded on two things: a hit single called Panda, and his being signed to Kanye Wests GOOD Music label. Panda a trap ballad made irresistible by the Brooklyn rappers syrupy flow was an American number one, and did well enough in the UK that hes presented with a platinum disc for it on stage tonight.

Other than that, the main attribute Desiigner brings to his first UK headline gig is a 19-year-olds energy. At home, hes the subject of rancour stemming from his supposed borrowing of venerated MC Futures style; here hes welcomed like a rock star by the near-capacity crowd. Immediately, a moshpit forms, and, after whipping off his shirt, Desiigner hops into it, freestyling a track from his debut mixtape, New English. He spends half the show in the pit, emerging drenched, laughing and thoroughly Instagrammed.

Desiigner holds aloft his platinum disc. Photograph: PJP photos/Rex/Shutterstock

A mumbler and word-mangler, he leaves you guessing what hes saying; between that and the dark, spacy backing tracks, entire slabs of his 35-minute set sound as if theyre being broadcast from a sinkhole. Panda (performed twice, the second time mimed) and new single Timmy Turner are distinctive enough, though, to suggest that when he gets around to honing his live offering he could be worth seeing again.

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"35-minutes set" lol and he was headliner?!

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