As the pandemic apocalypse threatens to topple us, who can be the savior for every major urban metropolis? No, not Hank Hippopopalous. Rappers have historically pictured doomsday scenarios and futuristic Orwellian dystopias in their rhymes. Hip-Hop is culturally rooted in giving voice to the unheard through music, graffiti, breakdancing, and what we collectively call “the arts.” Those voices have held up a mirror to the world, reflecting the disenfranchisement and poverty the elite would rather not see, but they’ve also reflected outsider viewpoints from nerd culture and conspiracy theory buffs too. If you think the CIA has black helicopters and there are alien autopsies at Area 51, hip-hop has room for your beliefs too.
It should come as no surprise then that rap artists have already depicted scenarios of contagion, chaos and control over the last five decades and will continue to do so in the sixth. Some were even accidentally omniscient. Del the Funky Homosapien wasn’t predicting the coronavirus pandemic when he preached good hygiene on “If You Must”, and he was talking about spreading a computer “Virus” on Deltron 3030, but those songs still feel eerily appropriate for the current times we live in. They inspired me to create this “Pandemic Playlist” we can all listen to while sitting in our homes and practicing social distancing. For me at least it reinforces how the fertile imagination of rappers can envision any scenario and breathe life into it, even if some of them might be a little frightening. Incidentally these songs are not ranked in any way — the order was chosen at random.
Deltron 3030 (Del & Dan the Automator) – “Virus”
Ill Bill – “Society Is Brainwashed”
MF DOOM – “Deep Fried Frenz”
Ras Kass – “Nature of the Threat”
Del the Funky Homosapien – “If You Must”
Jedi Mind Tricks – “Blood In Blood Out”
Non-Phixion – “Black Helicopters”
Killah Priest – “B.I.B.L.E.”
Vinnie Paz f/ Block McCloud – “End of Days”
Immortal Technique – “Rich Man’s World”