Detroit rapper Gmac Cash on viral 'Coronavirus' hit: 'It's amazing'

Comic rapper scores topical hit with social distancing anthem; even Snoop Dogg is a fan

Adam Graham
The Detroit News

Detroit rapper Gmac Cash's "Coronavirus" song has officially gone viral. 

The song, a self-isolation and social distancing anthem ("move, b----, you got coronavirus" goes the chorus) that highlights the importance of proper hygiene in this time of great uncertainty ("make sure you wash your hands with a lot of love!"), is on the precipice of hitting 1 million views on YouTube; as of 4 p.m. Friday, it was just 47,000 hits shy of the marker. 

Gmac Cash in the "Coronavirus" video.

Since premiering online on Sunday, it has been shared by Snoop Dogg, Joe Rogan and more. "A lot of people posting it, I can't even keep up," says Gmac, real name Gerald Allen. "That’s, like, the biggest honor. It’s amazing for people to actually like my music."

Allen, 27, was raised on the Detroit's east side and has been rapping since his youth. He says he was known for rapping in the hallways of Southeastern High School in Detroit, and he lists his influences as Lil Wayne and "Weird" Al Yankovic. 

The lineage makes sense, as Gmac has made a name for himself by posting topical songs filtered through a comic lens. His first success came with "First Day at Popeyes," a fast food riff on Detroit rapper Tee Grizzley's "First Day Out," and from there it was off to the races. 

"My goal is to challenge myself to make songs about what’s going on in the world, but it's not even really a challenge. It just comes off as natural now," he says. "I make music people can relate to."

And he's chosen the comic route as a way to stand apart from the pack. 

"I try not to promote violence and drugs. I try to show people you can rap about other things and people still listen to your music and like your music," he says. "I always try to be different and never label myself the same as anybody else. What can do I different? Because I am different."

He's made songs about the weather ("Snow"), about Michigan's roads ("Potholes"), about needing some cash ("Gas Money"). So when the coronavirus was sweeping the globe, it was only a matter of time before he tackled the topic. 

"I got like 100 DMs and people were asking me, 'when you gonna do coronavirus?' And then when we got the first case in the US, and then a couple more cases, I knew it was time to do the song."

He says it took him about 30 minutes to write the lyrics; the beat was produced by Primo Beatss. A video was shot for the song last weekend with director Armani "Ayeyonino" Samuel in and around the Three Thirteen Store on Livernois, along the Avenue of Fashion, and was posted the following day. When your goal is to be topical, you've gotta be quick. 

Since then, Gmac has been watching the YouTube views climb at a pace of around 200,000 a day; since he's self-quarantined, he doesn't have much else to do anyway. 

"I've been in the house. I've got a studio in the house, so I'm good," he says.

In "Coronavirus," he mentions staying home and playing video games; "NBA2K" on PS4 is his distraction of choice. 

"Coronavirus" will be his first song to hit 1 million views on YouTube. And once it does? 

"We gonna celebrate," Gmac says. "And then I'm gonna do another song, do another video."

Not even coronavirus can stop him.