Is “Panda” one of the worst #1 songs of the 21st century?
Folks, there’s a new #1 song in America, according to Billboard magazine. It’s called “Panda” and it’s by a new rapper signed to Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. label who goes by the name Desiigner.
Admittedly, the song is not one that I hear in my normal music circles, but because it was so rapidly climbing the charts – which I do still pay attention to – en route to its current #1 crowning, I decided to stream it so I could hear what all the excitement was about.
Then I streamed it again to make sure I was playing the correct tune – the one that now sits at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 – because this is what Billboard was telling me is the most popular song in America today.
Then I streamed it a third time – this time a remixed version to see if maybe it had some redeeming qualities. Still, no connection.
Then, I streamed it once more – this time while reading along with the song’s incoherent lyrics on my Genius lyric app – to see if this tune maybe had some deeper meaning that went beyond the only lines I could understand (“I got broads in Atlanta” and “Panda,” which is repeated about fifty-eleven times throughout).
Finally, after realizing that every play would further contribute to the song’s continued reign at the top (Billboard measures these things to determine the charts), I stopped myself from streaming it again, but not before realizing that this was likely one of the worst Number One songs I had ever heard – and I’ve heard just about all of them since at least 1960.
There is very little that’s good about Desiigner’s “Panda,” a rap song that sounds like a knock-off track from the rapper Future…you know, the “F*ck up some Commas” rapper who himself is not one to be emulated. (Ironically, “Panda” is bigger than any hit Future has had to date. But at least Future – who has had three #1 albums in the past 8 months – is somewhat original.)
“Panda” is – according to various lyric translation sites – loosely about the 18-year-old rapper Desiigner’s expected rise to stardom and all the material things (of course) that go along with it, including the white BMW X6 model that, with black tinted windows, reminds the rapper of a panda, hence the song’s title.
I’ll give it to him, the car does kinda look like a panda when placed side by side with one, so he gets an A for word association.
But (and this is the unfortunate part), today’s new rappers apparently pride themselves on delivering those words in a way that they can be hardly understood – mumbling or poorly pronouncing lyrics and forcing us to look them up and cringe when we actually figure out what they’re saying.
The irony is that Desiigner’s “Panda” may actually not be so cringe worthy when you decipher its rapid-fire lyrics, and if you can get past the mumbling and the drone-like way in which he repeats the word “Panda” throughout, you might be able to appreciate it.
And it’s his ability to spit lyrics that fast that is a credit to the still-teenage Desiigner who put it all together.
Now, I don’t expect an 18-year-old to be rapping about today’s social ills and election-year politics, I’ve long since given up on expecting anything more out of rappers even twice Desiigner’s age. But I can’t get past the mumbling, which to me makes “Panda” just plain bad rap music.
Yet, the thing that the song’s admirers (and yes there are several close friends in my age group who think it’s dope by the way) cite as its most redeeming quality is the catchy beat. Isn’t it funny that somehow the beat always seems to excuse what would otherwise be a bad song even in the supporters’ minds?
That beat, which is punctuated by a looped human voice yelping and making machine-gun sounds throughout the entire four minutes, no doubt has its followers bouncing their necks in wild approval when the tune comes on the radio or is blasted in cars all over America (or when it’s played in Atlanta’s strip clubs, where you’re almost certain to hear it).
I’ll admit, the song’s producers made clever use of the 808 drum machine when creating its start-and-stop bass-driven beat (unfortunately, one cannot appreciate this unless you’re in a club or listening to it on a good set of speakers with heavy bass, which I did when I admittedly streamed it for a fifth time to see if that was what I was missing the previous four).
And so it goes that the current generation of club-goers and American music consumers have propelled this bad tune all the way to #1, where it sits today. (And I don’t mean bad in a good way, either.)
But is “Panda” the worst #1 song of the 21st Century?
To some, asking this question in the context of today’s pop music is like asking which of the prunes in this bunch is the worst tasting – they’re ALL bad.
But indulge me for a few minutes.
To help answer this question, I’ve put together yet another djroblist. Like all of my previous lists, you may or may not agree depending on important factors like whether you like pop music, whether you were born before, say, 1980, and/or your natural tolerance for BS and nonsense.
There are only two criteria for inclusion on this list:
- The songs had to be #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 between January 2000 and today (there are 203 songs that have done this), and
- The songs had to suck…badly (at least half of those 203 songs met this criterion)
So here it is, my countdown of the worst Number One songs of the 21st century:
This rowdy electronic dance music track came from an album called 'Sorry For Party Rocking'. I wish Redfoo and SkyBlu had realized the error of their ways BEFORE they put out this noisy club-banger.
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