Sidney Royel Selby III, better known by his stage name Desiigner, has a lot to be proud of, having won two Billboard Music Awards this year for his track Panda. At 6’ 4”, one might assume he’d be an intimidating figure, but he immediately puts one at ease, standing up to shake hands and flashing the biggest toothed smile. He chooses a number from his upcoming album Liife Of Desiigner to play from his iPhone, as he sings along and dances. Glowing in a red Comme des Garçons sweater, his enthusiastic nature is undeniably radiant. “If I can make you dance,” he says, “that’s how I overcome my challenges. I put positivity on top.”
The 20-year-old rapper is of Barbadian descent, but grew up in the Louis Armstrong houses, a public housing development in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. His father worked on ambulances while his mother juggled different jobs in the city – a city that is embedded into his music. “New York is where you live fast, grow up getting it,” he explains. “It’s the hustle city, the home base, you know? Everyone wants to come to New York to see the lifestyle and live fast.”
He still resides in the now swiftly gentrifying Bed-Stuy. Once, Brooklyn legends such as Notorious B.I.G, Big Daddy Kane and Lil Kim roamed the blocks. Now, in addition to the first wave of young white artists and freethinkers who have changed the landscape, realtors are presently flipping million-dollar brownstones in the area.
Discover the full interview in the latest issue of Schön!
This Schön! 33 editorial was produced by
Words / Sheri Chiu