Rapper Desiigner has rolled up his sleeves to help out during COVID-19 as an artist and landlord. He released a new single called “Survivor,” and portions of the proceeds will be given to the United Way of NYC.
As a landlord with several properties, Desiigner also said he’s giving his tenants a break on rent to help them financially.
He spoke earlier this month about the song during an interview with Forbes and said it’s meant to make people feel better at a time when stress is so prevalent.
Desiigner made the point in the May 7 Forbes article that artists can help out during the pandemic in more than one way, because many are involved in other things besides music.
“So I have to look at all areas of my life and do my part — artists play lots of different roles in communities,” he explained. “For example, with housing … I’m a landlord with multiple properties. And some people can’t afford rent right now, and I have to hold that. How are you going to be able to live for the next couple months?”
“You gotta take it easy on your tenants, be understanding of what’s possible right now,” Desiigner explained. “I have to take the hits because I also don’t want to see anybody on the street. I can help, so I do.”
By the afternoon of Wednesday, May 27, Desiigner’s hometown of New York City had seen nearly 205,000 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, making the Big Apple by far the hardest-hit city in the nation.
He explained that many of his family members are still there and talked about his decision to partner with United Way of New York City for relief efforts.
“With everything hitting hard right now in New York City, I got a whole bunch of family members there and I want to help the communities out,” said Desiigner. “Like in my borough, in Bed-Stuy Brooklyn, it’s urban and packed with projects. And the folks there aren’t really getting noticed as much right now — as usual.”
“United Way of New York City is a place I got trust in,” he added. “Because they aren’t only working on getting New Yorkers out of poverty — they are doing more.”
Desiigner broke onto the scene after he released his 2015 single “Panda,” which hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. He used to be signed to Kanye West’s GOOD Music but is now an independent artist.
There were rumors that West dropped Desiigner from the label, but Desiigner denied those claims last year on IG Live. He also seemed to take a shot at West then.
“I’m on my own vibe,” he said. “I couldn’t have nobody hold me up. That’s why I had to get off that label, man. … Ain’t nobody drop me, I asked for the release. I’m just thinking about smarter ways. I see my dreams. I want to capture my dreams. N—-s had they dreams. N—–s past 30, 40. I’m 22. I’m ready to do me now.”
In his Forbes interview, Desiigner said another way he’s helping with COVID-19 relief efforts is by partnering with a business based in Anaheim, California called Mouth Masker. He’s designing masks with them and says for each one sold he will donate one to an essential worker, a senior, or a homeless person.