The summer -- a time for playing songs loudly on your car radio, staycation binge-watching shows you've neglected, and chilling out with movie theater air conditioning -- is nearly over. We're not ready to say goodbye just yet: all this week we're giving shout-outs to our favorite pop-culture moments of summer 2016, so that we can keep the good times rolling into the fall.
On Sunday night, Desiigner arrived at the MTV Video Music Awards clad in a salmon-colored suit with no shirt beneath his jacket. Standing next to pre-show host Lizzo on a stage outside of Madison Square Garden, across the river from his Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, the 19-year-old Brooklyn rapper looked resplendent, a gravelly voiced sunbeam pulsating through your TV screen. "I'm trying to be chill a little bit," he said, practically vibrating with energy. Desiigner is many things. Chill is not one.
Granted, he has very little to be chill about. In December last year, Desiigner uploaded "Panda," a song with a beat by 22-year-old Manchester, UK producer Adnan "Menace" Khan that he bought for $200, to his YouTube and SoundCloud pages. As it bubbled up through the internet, the pounding all-chorus track caught the ear of Kanye West, who sampled over a minute of the song on "Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 2" off his magnum opus The Life of Pablo. If you casually follow rap music, you probably first heard the grimy beat of "Panda" at West's much-hyped MSG album-release party and fashion show and thought, "What the hell is this?" Then you replayed that part.