• Howard Butler

How COVID-19 has impacted Hip-Hop

Life has come to what feels like a complete standstill lately as for many, as school and work have become completely remote. In this crazy time however, Hip-hop has done anything but slow down. There have been three big things that have come with the COVID-19 epidemic and the tedium it's brought upon us; snippets, staying in, and surprise drops. Let us go.


Instagram live has become massive since spring break with artists going on to connect with fans. We have Tory Lanez with Quarantine Radio and Freddie Gibbs with Club Diego, but many other artists are getting straight to the point having "Snippet Sessions" over the video streaming platform.

--- I wrote this article a few days ago and since then WLR had its cover art released by the man himself, Sir Cartier. It's crazy that it's happening for real this time. I had snippets posted for two seperate collaborative efforts; one with Yung Lean and another with A$AP Nast. The Nast-assisted track is supposedly called "Blowin Up" and was produced by Pi'erre Bourne. They were taken down so look out for the track list, I guess. Wait so why isn't it red...

With the new album, we may hear a new sound as this popped up last week.


He may be taking this baby voice thing a lil too far, eh? Sounds rough right now but who knows... come album time he may have crafted a hit.

Carti also had his flow bitten by twice.

Flattering parody or insulting rip-off, this Trippie video is still a blatant bite.

The upcoming Drake and Carti collab, "Pain 1993", is also previewed showing Drake picking up Carti's flow delivery because of course, why wouldn't he? He's the chameleon of rap music. I would usually be up in arms about this sort of thing. However, this time I am actually enjoying hearing him glide over the smooth Pi'erre instrumental and then mix in his verse vocals in his normal cadence.

Speaking of the 6ix God himself, he's been previewing a ton of new tracks.

Timing seems right for a new album, and I would be expecting one based on the plentiful bounty of soon-to-be hits he's given us. Many different sounds are here as "Stick It" gave me a feeling of IYRTITL. The top right one made me think of More Life with how he tapped into his UK flow. "Not Around" reminds me of Sweeterman for some reason and wow, a Roddy Rich and Drizzy collab is in the vault.

We have also heard stuff from...

Don Toliver

Young Thug aka Thugger aka Jeffrey aka GOLDMOUFDAWG

Juice WRLD's posthumous music is previewed.

TDE's Isaiah Rashad continues to troll about as he previews music from his album that's been in the works for nearly four years. I pray we see this project in 2020. Not every snippet will be embedded, just click on one of the names of the next couple songs as they will be linked in the text: Bat Cave, Fears in ya Face, Why Worry, Wat U Sed?, Face (prod. by Kenny Beats), Mink Coat (prod. by ICYTWAT), Chill Pill.

Kendrick Lamar recently founded pgLang, what is seemingly a multi-medium platform for creatives of all different backgrounds. A snippet was released in the Visual Mission Statement which previews music between Kung Fu Kenny and his rising star cousin, Baby Keem. Rumor has it Kendrick will be dropping his "rock-influenced" album this summer, so we may music from the two hit streaming services soon.

During an IG live beat battle between Boi-1da & Hit-Boy, Hit-Boy previews new Big Sean and Nipsey Hussle song supposedly on Sean's forthcoming album Detroit 2.

Speaking of beat battles, RZA (Wu-Tang Clan) gave us a glimpse of this gem with the Badmon himself when facing off against DJ Premier (Gang Starr).

STAYING IN (and working)

Staying inside the house all day gets boring very fast, and many people have taken time to learn new skills or remaster old hobbies. Rappers have taken similar routes from what we've seen on social media, as we see Travis and Tyler hit the boards to make magic.


Over this quarantine we've seen and heard music that we didn't even think would come to fruition. The infinitely-hyped Lil Uzi Vert album Eternal Atake got a deluxe edition, bringing the grand total to 32 songs in a week. At the same time, we got to hear Jay Electronica's debut album that listeners have been waiting 14 years for. Both albums were written about in a Burbs Music Final Digest along with two other projects from that weekend; that article can be found at this link.

If you were to tell me that we'd get new music from Childish Gambino, Frank Ocean, and PARTYNEXTDOOR all in the span of a couple weeks, I'd call you crazy.

It happened though. We got surprise drops from all three.

Unfortunately, some projects did not meet the response they expected. PND's album, PARTYMOBILE, was a poorly-received snoozefest that drives home the ideology that his music only happens when Drake passes on a concept or song.

Donald Glover might've released his last music ever, and what a shame it is that it was met with such criticism. His next album was supposedly his retirement from music, but 3.15.2020's spontaneous sound and delivery suggest that it is his penultimate project. I hope Gambino comes ready to rap on his retirement album.

This run of surprising drops wouldn't be complete without some Frank Ocean, who released two exceptional singles, "Dear April" and "Cayendo". Prior to hitting streaming services, these tracks were sold exclusively on vinyl at his site.

Since writing this article. we have also gotten a single from Kid Cudi, returning back to his hip hop form. Ralphy from Burbs covered it all in a quick article which can be found here.

Our favorite artists have been doing good over the Coronavirus Season and you can too; stay inside. I hope you enjoy the content we have coming in the near future and that we can help you escape the mind-numbing existence that is quarantine. We'll finish out this month with a couple of releases from household names such as Westside Gunn, 88Glam, Mike Dean, and Smino. Click on their names to learn more.

Lemme know in the comments if you think Whole Lotta Red might see a name change? Possibly Whole Lotta Teal? Are you excited for new music from TDE, who opens the floodgates and when? What did you think of the projects covered in the Surprise Drops?