Music Industry Experts Explain How Coronavirus Changed Hip-Hop

Hip-hop’s hustle can’t be stopped even in the face of a pandemic. While rappers have spent the last six months self-quarantining and taking precautions against coronavirus, they’ve also been thinking of creative ways to connect with fans since touring has come to a halt and social distancing is a must. Artists and their respective teams have had to reimagine what daily life as an entertainer is in times of COVD-19.

In early March, Post Malone was one of the last rappers to officially put an end to his concerts. His arena show in Denver was met with some backlash as states were already limiting the number of people in one space and social distancing was in effect. Young Dolph, Rod Wave and YBN Cordae were just a few of the artists who had to cancel their tours for the sake of their own well-being and that of their fans. With no vaccine available yet to put a stop to coronavirus, rappers continue to restrict travel and won’t be able to perform at the usual packed-out venues until next year at the earliest.

The lack of touring has also affected rappers’ pockets. In April, Young Thug expressed that he could lose $5 million if quarantining lasted through June. DaBaby shared a similar sentiment that same month, revealing that he would also be losing upwards of $5 million if the pandemic was still going by July. It’s now August, and with no end in sight, artists’ financial security is in limbo.

With six months of quarantine and social distancing in effect, restrictions have been lifted in many states, but that doesn’t mean business is back to normal for hip-hop. Every facet of the music industry, including touring, management, music video production, A&R and public relations has been forced to adapt to the change going on as a result of COVID-19.

This is a time that calls for creativity. From the studio to the boardroom, how do artists stay afloat in the face of coronavirus? Will album rollouts return to normal? What safety measures are in place for recording in the studio? How do meet and greets exist when touring resumes? What can an artist do to stay fresh in their fan’s minds when performing isn’t an option? How will the music industry bounce back once the pandemic is over? These are questions that many artists and their teams have raised for good reason.

Here, we ask the experts to help answer those questions since they know firsthand the challenges hip-hop has been dealing with since the pandemic began. Peter Jideonwo, manager for Trippie Redd, The Kid Laroi and formerly Juice Wrld; Ebonie Ward, manager for Future and Gunna at Emagen Entertainment Group; Derrick Aroh, Vice President of A&R at RCA Records, James Rico, Director and Editor at Reel Goats; Dominick Pietro, Talent Buyer for AEG Presents/GoldenVoice; and Michelle McDevitt, President and Cofounder of Audible Treats publicity agency, speak with XXL to share how their artists have been impacted due to COVD-19, the creative ways they are connecting with fans and what the future looks like when we’re really back outside. 

These Managers, an A&R, Touring Rep, Video Director and Publicist Explain How Coronavirus Changed Hip-Hop

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