A video of Jay-Z and Kanye predicting the COVID-19 pandemic is fake

By: Nikolaj Kristensen
May 12 2023

Share Article: facebook logo twitter logo linkedin logo
A video of Jay-Z and Kanye predicting the COVID-19 pandemic is fake


The Verdict False

A music video clip has been doctored to make it sound like rappers Jay-Z and Kanye West predicted the COVID-19 pandemic in 2011.

Claim ID 08153e1b


A video has been altered to depict hip-hop artists Jay-Z and Kanye West rapping alternative lyrics on their 2011 hit track “N****s in Paris,” giving the impression the rappers predicted the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The seven-second clip features Jay-Z apparently rapping, “In 2020, there will be a global pandemic named COVID-19,” followed by Kanye rapping, “Yeah, COVID-19 that’s what he said, so all y’all better wash your hands.” However, the video is a fake.

In Fact

The clip has been taken from the music video for the song “N****s in Paris,” originally released in 2011. At no point in the original video does Jay-Z or Kanye West rap a single word about the COVID-19 pandemic, as this did not occur until almost a decade later. A transcript of the actual lyrics from the same sequence does not feature the altered words, taken from the 0.50 - 0.57 timestamp of the video, as evidenced: 

[Kanye] Let’s go, let’s go.

[Jay-Z] Ball so hard, this sh*t weird, we ain’t even ‘posed to be here.

[Kanye] We supposed to be here.

[Jay-Z] Ball so hard, since we here, it’s only right that we be fair.

There is clearly no prediction of future pandemics happening in the original lyrics. 

It’s not possible to say if the rapper’s voices were deepfaked using AI technology or if this is the work of voice impressionists. There are, however, many examples of both Jay-Z’s and Kanye’s voices being generated by AI models. In March 2023, Roberto Nickson, designer and builder of text-to-image AI Eluna, posted a video on Twitter that featured him rapping in Kanye’s voice. 

In 2020, Jay-Z attempted to remove videos from YouTube that had deepfaked his voice to make it sound like he was rapping the Book of Genesis and quoting Shakespeare monologues.

The Verdict

A clip of a music video has been manipulated to make it sound like Jay-Z and Kanye West predicted the COVID-19 pandemic nine years before it happened. In the original music video, the rappers make no mention of COVID-19. Therefore, we have marked this video as fake. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a lot of potentially dangerous misinformation. For reliable advice on COVID-19, including symptoms, prevention, and available treatment, please refer to the World Health Organization or your national healthcare authority.

Would you like to submit a claim to fact-check or contact our editorial team?

Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before