Release Date: Jun 26, 2016
Record label: Def Jam / GOOD
An aptly titled effort, New English is the debut mixtape from Desiigner, the Brooklyn MC who took over 2016 with his mega-hit "Panda." Equally intelligible and infectious, "Panda" was also accused of borrowing Atlanta rapper Future's style, but this weird and often wonderful ride broadens the scope, painting Desiigner as a much darker rapper with his hallucinatory music just skirting on the surface of a bad trip. Pusha T and King Savage are the trippy mixtape's only guests, while Rico Beats, Menace, Hal Ritson, and the like handle the production. .
For many Hip Hop disciples, Desiigner embodies everything wrong with rap music these days: a lack of originality, nothing to say, and instant gratification. When Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo was released, his appearance on “[Father Stretch My Hands] Pt. 2” was chided as a Future sound-a-like armed with one of the best beat drops of the year.
Repetition only works in rap when you make it interesting. Migos’ “Versace” reiterated its title phrase so many times that it bled into the already hypnotic beat; Future’s “Same Damn Time” used high energy and rapturous, theatrical production to create something rowdy; and Chief Keef’s “I Don’t Like” got so deep in its own zone that it stopped mattering whether it worked for you or not. By contrast, Desiigner’s debut mixtape, New English, feels like a formulaic Vox instructional on how to make trap songs.
On the face of it, Desiigner seems like he might be intriguing: A nobody just a few months ago, the 19-year-old rapper is fresh off collaborating with one of the most famous musicians on the planet. And on top of that, his entire persona is built off another one of the most famous rappers alive? That’s some alternate universe, sci-fi shit, forget about Gucci Mane being a clone. His mixtape New English, unfortunately, is a lot less intriguing to listen to: It sounds like the last five years of hip-hop watered down.
Brooklyn rapper Desiigner had a lot to live up to on his debut mixtape, New English, considering he was a relatively unknown artist at the start of the year. In the past six months, Desiigner went from an 18-year-old independent artist releasing tracks on YoutTube and SoundCloud to signing to Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music, having his “Panda” track sampled on West’s The Life of Pablo, seeing “Panda” rise to No.