But what is it about the "Panda" artist that makes him so representative of this particular moment? As the upper echelon of important contemporary artists -- Rihanna, Drake, Beyoncé, Kanye West, Frank Ocean -- becomes increasingly reliant on elaborate album rollouts and semi-public partnerships with corporate streaming platforms, the singles chart remains the place where emerging young artists like Desiigner, Lil Uzi Vert, or Lil Yachty can break out. As Slate's Chris Molanphy pointed out, the song's chart dominance mostly relied on "non-Vevo YouTube views." That's how what essentially sounds like a mixtape track can bubble to the surface, upending the monotony of the charts.
Also, it's just catchy as hell. After months of listening to it, "Panda" still makes you want to body-slam people. As a piece of music, it's one of the stranger, more splintered songs to become such an enormous hit in recent years. Lacking the ballad-like cadence of Fetty Wap's 2015 hip-hop chart hit "Trap Queen," or the dancehall vibes of other 2016 hits like Drake's "One Dance" or Rihanna's "Work," "Panda" is all jagged edges and throaty ad-libs. It's intense. When Desiigner performs the song, which he's done countless times this summer, it looks like he's trying to exorcise a demon. Maybe it's a panda demon.