Panda

Album: New English (2015)
Charted: 7 1
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Songfacts®:

  • Desiigner is Brooklyn rapper Sidney Selby III who signed at the age of 18 to Kanye West's GOOD Music imprint. The teenage MC first uploaded this song to Soundcloud in December 2015. It quickly amassed more than a million plays and inspired freestyles from many artists. In Feb. 2016, Kanye West incorporated two verses of the track into his The Life of Pablo cut "Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 2."
  • Desiigner told PVNCH on his ThisIs50 show called #Pvnch180 that the song title alludes to his belief that the aspirational white BMW X6 with tinted windows closely resembles a panda bear.
  • The Brooklyn MC raps about another dream car, the Rolls Royce Phantom, as well. He explained the "Black X6, Phantom. White X6, panda" lyric to Complex: "The panda is the black X6 and the white X6. The black X6 look like a Phantom, the white X6 look like a panda. I'm just putting it in a greater way of how I say and the way I live."
  • Manchester producer Menace sold the "Panda" beat to Desiigner for $200. He told Genius: "My production reflects The Joker and DC Comics - those type of characters. I make it really gritty-sounding. My production is dark, gritty, taking-over-the-world type of production.

    From the start to mixing and mastering it took about two hours to make this beat. When I posted it on YouTube, I wrote: 'Meek Mill - Ace Hood Type Beat.' So it came out totally different than I thought."
  • Desiigner explained to Billboard magazine why he thinks the BMW X6 looks like a panda. "The way my mind works is crazy, man," he said. "I don't say crazy like in a crazy psycho way, I mean crazy in like a great artist way. I have my own way of seeing things and I look at things totally different. So when I was just looking at the X6 I was just saying that's a panda."
  • Desiigner had been playing Grand Theft Auto V when he came up with the song's theme. "When I was making it I was thinking about The Fast and The Furious and about breaking cars and going crazy," he said. "It's a whole bunch of action. When I make songs I think about movies, like my own movies in my head."
  • Unusually, the song reached #1 on the Hot 100 without a music video. The clip was eventually released on May 10, 2016.

    The Kanye West and Paul Geusebroek-directed video features Desiigner stealing a car and outrunning the cops. It also features an appearance by Yeezy, who we see chauffeuring his young Good Music signee. The pair munch doughnuts in a scene similar to The Throne's "Otis" visual, where West and Jay-Z devour some doughnuts in a parking lot.
  • The opening line of the hook, "I got broads in Atlanta," isn't strictly true. "I've never been to Atlanta," Desiigner admitted to Billboard magazine.

    Desiigner added that the inspiration was a girl he met on Facebook. "We never met in person," he said. "She just said she was from ATL, so I was like, 'All right - I got broads in Atlanta.' It's real life, you feel me? I put real-life s--t in my songs."
  • Serena Williams listened to the track while warming up for the 2016 French Open. Speaking during a one-off show called Champ, which she hosted on Beats 1, the tennis star recalled: "I was at the French Open on a bike warming up next to Venus [Williams] about to go play doubles. That's gonna be my memory of 'Panda' cos that was when I would always listen to it and dance around in the locker room and everyone would look at me like I was crazy, but I was okay with that. So yeah, we love Desiigner."
  • Desiigner thinks this was a success because of its vowel sounds. He told Billboard:

    "There's really a method through the vowels. I'll explain it to you. It's A, E, I, O, and U. Sometimes Y. We respond to words with vowels. The only reason why we respond to words is because we hear a vowel that stands out of the word. You know why 'Panda' and 'Gucci Gang' are hits? Because of the A vowel. It stands out and that's the thing that catches our ear the most. So when I say, 'Ay ay ay ay,' if gives you that good feeling. Things like that and knowing how to formulate it with the trends and your storyline, you know how to always make the hit. It's a science to it."

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