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'Panda' Rapper Desiigner Faces Drug Charges After Road Rage Incident

By Keri Blakinger 09/12/16

The 19-year-old rapper took to Instagram to refute claims that he intended to sell the prescription pills police reportedly found in his possession.

'Panda' Rapper Desiigner Faces Drug Charges After Road Rage Incident

A Brooklyn rapper is facing felony drug charges after a road rage outburst stemming from a dispute that started near the Lincoln Tunnel between New York City and New Jersey.

Desiigner—who is best known for his hit song “Panda”—was riding in the back of a white Cadillac Escalade when he got into a traffic-related spat with the driver of another vehicle Thursday night on West 42nd Street in Manhattan, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The 19-year-old Brooklyn artist, whose real name is Sidney Royel Selby, allegedly hopped out and flicked a cigarette at the other vehicle before brandishing a gun at the driver, the New York Daily News reported.

Afterward, the rapper and his four friends fled the scene—but the driver of the other vehicle wrote down the plate number and called 911. Responding officers tracked down the five men nearby.

When police stopped the SUV, which was traveling from New Jersey into Manhattan, they reportedly found a large quantity of prescription pills, including OxyContin, in the vehicle’s center console.

Desiigner—along with Utril Rhaburn, Scott Siegel, C.J. McCoy, and hypeman Michael Davis—was charged with felony possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell and criminal possession of a controlled substance, a police spokesperson told The Fix

Rhaburn was also hit with a marijuana charge and Siegel is facing one count of possession of a forged instrument, according to Rolling Stone. Desiigner was additionally charged with felony possession of a loaded weapon but the charge was later dropped by the DA due to authorities being unable to find the weapon in question. His rep did not immediately respond to The Fix’s request for comment.

The rapper’s debut single—featuring oddly catchy chants of “panda, panda, panda, panda”—dropped last year and was re-released early this year before reaching number one on Billboard’s Hot 100 in the spring. The song—which was sampled on Kanye West’s Life of Pablo—features a number of drug references, including a line about popping a Percocet, a painkiller that contains oxycodone and acetaminophen.

Desiigner was signed to West’s G.O.O.D. Music record label in February and scored a 2016 Grammy nomination for best new artist. Last Wednesday, he turned up in the front row of the “Gold Digger” rapper’s Yeezy Season 4 runway show during New York Fashion Week.

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Keri Blakinger is a former drug user and current reporter living in Texas. She covers breaking news for the Houston Chronicle and previously worked for the New York Daily News and the Ithaca Times. She has written about drugs and criminal justice for the Washington Post, Salon, Quartz and more. She loves dogs and is not impressed by rodeo food. Find Keri on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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