Clone Wars

May 26, 2016

Since the release of Kanye West’s album “The Life of Pablo,” 19-year old MC Desiigner has become the most controversial artists of 2016.

Prior to his signing with G.O.O.D. music, a young Sidney Shelby III would fly out to LA to meet West in a car outside of LAX. The two would listen to what would become “Father Stretch my Hand Pt. 2,” the record that essentially anchored his new found eminence in rap. Desiigner’s feature on the record captivated the attention of the masses and introduced the world to his single “Panda”. Following its release, “Panda” has easily become one of the biggest songs of the year, reaching No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100. He’s done interviews with a number of notable magazines such as The Fader, Complex, MTV, and is possibly preparing to go on the road with label CEO, Kanye West for the “TLOP” tour.

Currently, the Bed-Stuy native is at the pinnacle of his young musical career. However, many have attributed his success to another individual entirely. Desiigner’s sound has often been compared to that of Future’s, which has created a prodigious debate among those in the culture. The media has seemingly deemed the young artist a “biter,” including Future himself.

While performing during his Purple Reign tour this past March, Future looked to the crowd and said “There’s only 1 Future,” which led many to believe he was aiming the incivility toward Desiigner. In response, Desiigner has held his stance on his individuality, remaining composed despite the wide criticism hip hop aficionados and media outlets. Zara Golden of The Fader asked him how he felt about the comparisons.

“I actually laugh at it, there’s nothing to get upset about,” said Desiigner. “I complement the man about his creativity. I think he’s a great artist and I do what I do; I just say we’re both blessed in our ways. May god just keep it positive and keep me positive, keep me straight.”

In his defense, Desiigner isn’t the first artist to be directly influenced by Future. Future has created an offspring of artists that have embraced the trap-indulged beats, simplistic hooks and melodic tones to create the preliminary sound today, especially within Atlanta. Which in turn, has helped to further establish the city as the most prominent in hip-hop right now. Artists such as Lil Uzi Vert, Rich Homie Quan, and iLoveMakonnen possibly wouldn’t have careers if it wasn’t for Future’s influence. The only difference between those artists and Desiigner is that they haven’t garnered the same success he’s been able to obtain with “Panda,” a record that’s even usurped any record of Future’s on the Billboard charts.

Still, this conversation has prompted those of the culture to question whether Desiigner will be able to obtain longevity within rap. Historically, hip-hop has been built on artist’s originality, creativity and desire to separate themselves aesthetically from their contemporaries. Those who have attempted to replicate others’ inflections or cadences were maligned, scorned and ridiculed by both contributors and fans of the art. One example is Atlanta-based artist and vocalist, Young Thug. Young Thug’s career has been asterisked by a number of hip-hop purists simply due to the similarities in him and Lil Wayne’s voices. Thug has openly admitted to being influenced by Wayne, which explains his corky and exaggerated delivery. Yet, their resemblance has managed to stifle his musical trajectory among the masses, despite the countless amount of other contrasts between their music.

Therefore, Desiigner’s equivalence vocally, stylistically and contextually to that of Future has rightfully been condemned and may very well dictate his career. Whether that means him prolonging or shortening his stance artistically is to be seen. Staff writer for hiphopdx.com acknowledged how this uniformity between the two artists could be detrimental toward Desiigner’s future in music.

“Being compared overwhelmingly to the ‘Astronaut Kid’ makes sense now, but could turn into a real liability in the future (no pun intended). Trends in Hip Hop change quickly and Future could eventually go in a creatively different direction.”

Desiigner could easily become a one-hit wonder, one that fell into the overly saturated sound of Atlanta like many individuals have done. However, unlike these past artists Designer has the powers of G.O.O.D. Music behind him, and people willing to set the platform for him to showcase his artistry in full.

What better platform to showcase your artistry than more music? The anticipation for new music from Desiigner has heightened vastly now that he’s officially announced the title of his debut album, “The Life of Desiigner.” People are anxious to see what direction the young MC will take with a full-length project; and how he’ll separate himself from the Future comparisons that have seemingly overshadowed the infancy of his career.

He has the talent to create, the label to back him, and a rogue of talented artists and producers at his disposal at G.O.O.D. Music that want him to succeed. With this project it’s important for him to establish a sound of his own, as it’s important he distinguishes himself from other artists that have gravitated toward the wave of the south. Ultimately, it’s up to him to evolve musically and to further substantiate himself in the upper echelon of young MC’s.

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