Fact check: Rapper Playboi Carti did not predict COVID-19 in 2018 song

The claim: Playboi Carti predicted COVID-19 

Social media users are falsely claiming rapper Playboi Carti predicted COVID-19 in a song that was released two years before the pandemic.

An image published on Instagram shows a screenshot of a tweet from March 26, 2020, that purportedly shows lyrics from “Foreign,” a song that was released in 2018.

“In 2020 a flu-like disease that began in Wuhan, China (yuh) will cause a worldwide pandemic and shut down all major events for months (slatt) and cause major economic collapse (buh buhbuh),” the text reads.

Since it was posted June 10, the image has received more than 85,000 likes. It wasn’t the first time the image appeared on social media.

The image was posted on Reddit on March 25, 2020, where more than 5,000 people reacted to it. The tweet that is now being shared on Instagram has more than 12,000 retweets and 55,000 likes. One version of the image on Instagram more than 62,000 likes before it was apparently removed.

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Playboi Carti did not predict the coronavirus pandemic. His song mentions guns, cars, women and diamonds — but not COVID-19.

USA TODAY reached out to the user who posted the claim for comment.

Song doesn’t mention COVID-19

Jordan Terrell Carter, the rapper’s real name, has been in the music industry since 2011, though his big debut was in 2017 with his album “Playboi Carti.”

Carter’s music is characterized by his mumbling, which makes it hard to understand what he’s saying exactly.

But the lyrics of “Foreign,” which was released as part of the artist’s second album “Die Lit,” don’t mention COVID-19 or its aftermath. The song mainly talks about guns, diamonds, women and cars.

Playboi Carti performs onstage at the STAPLES Center Concert Sponsored by SPRITE during the 2018 BET Experience on June 23, 2018, in Los Angeles, California. (Photo: Getty Images for BET)

Part of the song says: “Big gun big, yeah show ’em, city to city, I’m tourin’, Lil Carti, I’m ready to pull up, all of my diamonds they glowin’.”

Other songs in the album have a similar theme. Songs like “Long Time” and “Poke It Out” also mention education, money and being famous.

USA TODAY hasdebunkedseveralother online claims about COVID-19 predictions.

Our rating: False

We rate the claim that Rapper Playboi Carti predicted COVID-19 FALSE, based on our research. The song that social media users have cited was released in 2018 and doesn’t mention COVID-19 or its aftermath. The song talks about cars, diamonds, guns and women. 

Our fact-check sources:

  • NeonCarti, March 26, 2020, tweet
  • Reddit thread, March 25, 2020, Carti predicted COVID-19
  • @i_have_no_memes96_v2, June 10, Instagram
  • The Vogue, accessed June 11, Playboi Carti
  • YouTube Music, 2017, “Playboi Carti” album
  • YouTube Music, 2018, “Die Lit” album
  • YouTube Music, 2018, “Foreign”

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Our fact check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.

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