In spite of being trapped in our households for months on end, some of our favorite celebrities and artists have been working hard to keep our spirits up during quarantine. From releasing albums to creative freestyles and music videos, artists such as Drake, Rich Brian, and Travis Scott are working hard to release content for their stir-crazy fans.
Popular Toronto rapper Drake surprised fans with his latest album, “Dark Lane Demo Tapes” on May, 1 during quarantine. The album has 14 songs, many of which fit the dark theme of the album with somber instrumentals and R & B samples. Drake is one of the first rappers to release a full length album during quarantine, leaving hope for fans that other artists might follow.
On May 1 Drake released his latest album, Dark Lane Demo Tapes, featuring his popular single “Toosie Slide,” along with multiple features such as Future, Young Thug, and Chris Brown. Dark Lane Demo Tapes is reminiscent of many of Drake’s past albums, giving his fans an introspective look at his come up, but also staying true to the dark feeling that the name implies. The slow beats, featuring soft, deep synths and baselines, along with the use of R & B style vocals set the somber feeling for most of the tracks on the album, other than the drill influenced songs “Demons” and “War” with quick percussion hits and hi-hats, as well as Drake’s classic hybrid of British and Canadian accents. Some of the standouts from this album are “Chicago Freestyle” featuring Giveon, which features a reinterpretation of the infamous pre-chorus to Eminem’s “Superman,” as well as the leaked songs “From Florida With Love,” produced by MexikoDro and “Deep Pockets,” which were both recorded during the creation of Drake’s 2018 album Scorpion, and obviously the viral Tik-Tok dance song,“Toosie Slide.” This release from Drake was a surprise as it was unannounced and unexpected during quarantine, nonetheless it continues to satisfy bored fans from across the world. Overall, I would say Dark Lane Demo Tapes may not be Drake’s best album, but it definitely has a song for everyone, and really showcases Drake’s lyrical prowess and ability to tell a story and I recommend giving it a listen during quarantine.
Up and coming rapper Rich Brian released his "Tokyo Drift Freestyle" on March 24, just 10 days into social distancing. The homemade music video has already amassed over five million views on YouTube and features many playful jokes about life in quarantine.
Another upcoming rapper, Rich Brian, has also released music for his fans during quarantine. His most recent release, “Tokyo Drift Freestyle,” was accompanied by a homemade music video and as you may have guessed, uses the original instrumental to the song “Tokyo Drift” by the Teriyaki Boyz used in the third movie of the Fast and Furious franchise. The video sets the scene as 10 days into social distancing and features the rapper playfully flexing his chain alongside a roll of toilet paper, solving a Rubik’s cube, as well as dancing around in many outfits paired with his pink mask in his backyard. Rich Brian’s remix of the song also inspired many of the other artists from his label 88 Rising to do their own renditions, all of which are also on the 88 Rising Youtube channel. The freestyle features some of the many flows from the talented rapper and the goofy music video is sure to make you laugh.
Travis Scott, along with the developers at Epic Games, connected with fans by hosting a series of 5 “Astronomical” concerts in the battle royal video game Fortnite from April 23 to April 26. During these concerts inspired by the rapper’s album and former Houston amusement park ASTROWORLD, players could join and see an enlarged version of the rapper’s skin perform some of his hit songs. One of these songs was a premiere of his recent collaboration with Kid Cudi called, “THE SCOTTS,” which is currently #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 as of the week of May 9. “THE SCOTTS” was the final song played during the first concert on April 23, and the song was released a few hours after at midnight of April 24. I personally didn’t get to see the concerts, but I thoroughly enjoyed the new song and the concept of making virtual concerts for people who can’t go see them in person, which I hope artists and platforms like this continue to do during and after quarantine.
The album cover for “THE SCOTTS” was created by popular artist and sculptor, KAWS, known for his use of crossed out eyes on many of his sculptures and paintings such as the “Waiting” Sculpture in Campus Martius in Detroit. The artist even took the album cover design and, along with the app “Acute Art,” made it into an augmented reality filter for fans to use for their own pictures.
Although I don’t know when I will be able to go to another concert, the content that artists like these have been able to get out to fans have made my quarantine much more manageable. Whether it’s funny music videos or virtual concerts, I am looking forward to seeing how artists will innovate new ways to showcase their music to their fans despite being holed up at their houses.