Brooklyn-born rapper Desiigner is waiving off rent for the “next couple of months” for tenants in his residential properties in New York during the coronavirus pandemic because he doesn’t “want to see anybody on the street”.
In a recent conversation with Forbes, the rapper whose actual name is Sidney Royel Shelby III, said he had been inspired by similar philanthropic works in these times by some in hip hop, including fellow New Yorkers Diddy and Fat Joe.
But Desiigner’s disclosure of his good works is also the first time he has publicly stated that he is a landlord who owns “multiple properties”.
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He told Forbes:
“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. I have to take the hits because I also don’t want to see anybody on the street. I can help so I do.”
The rapper also disclosed that he is working with local non-profit, United Way of New York City, to make sure direct help reaches low-income workers who have been most affected by the hit the US economy has taken due to the coronavirus pandemic.
So far, Desiigner and United Way have reached several families throughout New York City. The rapper reiterated why help in pandemic was different from other times.
“This [pandemic] is something we’ve never experienced in our life before and we’re losing a lot of loved ones. We just gotta worry about holding it down. We got these great people on the frontlines. So I don’t want to make the world more worried, I want to be someone who puts a smile on your face and makes you feel good,” he explained.
Desiigner shot to world acclaim through his 2015 hit song Panda which peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Now 23 years old, the rapper said he is focused on “a purpose of elevation” since “none of us are here [on earth] to be nothing.”