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Meet the DJ behind Cardi B's chart-topping coronavirus hit

DJ iMarkkeyz's remix of Cardi B's video about COVID-19 has become a global phenomenon.
Image: Cardi B arrives to the MTV Video Music Awards in Calif., in 2017.
Cardi B arrives to the MTV Video Music Awards in Calif., in 2017.Jordan Strauss / Invision /AP file

While concerts have been canceled in an attempt to stifle the spread of coronavirus, listeners are still finding comfort through music and in particular, the "Coronavirus Remix" — a chart-topping song inspired by a Cardi B video that many are calling an "anthem" for this anxiety-inducing time.

Never one to shy away from speaking about politics and current events, Cardi B posted a video to Instagram last Wednesday in which she discussed her fear of coronavirus and warned her 60 million followers to take the global pandemic seriously.

“Coronavirus! Coronavirus!" the "Bodak Yellow" singer said at the end of the video. "I’m telling you, s--- is real! S--- is gettin’ real!”

These final lines became the fodder for DJ iMarkkeyz's remix.

A Brooklyn-based DJ and producer, DJ iMarkkeyz, whose real name is Brandon Markell Davidson, has been building a following with his music ever since his first viral video in 2014, a remix of Carl Garrett's seven-second Vine video "You Deserve Rounds." After Cardi B posted the video, DJ iMarkkeyz said he immediately began receiving requests to remix it. Luckily for him, he already has a beat in mind.

"I had a beat already, so when people began tagging me, I started creating the song," the 29-year-old told NBC News.

He said once the song was complete, he paired "Coronavirus Remix" with a video montage of dancers, including Elmo and Beyoncé, then posted it to social media. On Twitter, the track quickly gained traction and once DJ iMarkkeyz shared it with streaming platforms, it began climbing the charts. The song has earned the No. 1 spot on iTunes in Bulgaria, Egypt and Brazil and is currently No. 8 in the United States.

"It started spreading little by little, then next thing I know, people are playing it at clubs in Brazil," DJ iMarkkeyz said. "Everybody seems to love it."

Even Cardi B appears to appreciate the track. Both she and DJ iMarkkeyz have said that they plan to donate proceeds from the song to support shelters and food banks that may be overtaxed because of coronavirus.

"Keep in mind you don’t get your money right away...but even months from now there would be families with financial issues for getting laid off due to the virus," Cardi B tweeted Tuesday. "We will Donate!'

As for why the song has resonated with so many people, DJ iMarkkeyz believes it's because the singer is able to find "a real way to relate to people" and articulate their distress during "rough times."

"Everybody loves Cardi B," DJ iMarkkeyz said. "And to get positive responses from people during this rough time, when we're all scared, and to make them happy is not only heart-warming, but it's a blessing."

Cardi B continues to speak candidly about her worry about the global pandemic. More than 97,000 people watched her live on Instagram at 2 a.m. Wednesday morning — an indication that people will look to the singer for guidance and relief as they navigate this difficult cultural moment.

"Coronavirus. I just don't understand," the singer said in an Instagram video Wednesday. "Who the f--- saw this coming?"