Weeks ago, Westside Gunn shared the surprising news that he had a frightening battle with COVID-19. “I’m feeling good now, these short breaths, this,” he said. “I smoke a lot so I’m trying to build my lungs back up. I was going to go out for a walk, but even when I went outside to do that, I was like, nah let me wait another week. Next week, I’ll probably try to walk for 30 minutes.”

Westside Gunn recently released his acclaimed album Pray for Paris, a project he completed while visiting the City of Love. Prior to dropping his latest record, the rapper had , but his COVID-19 diagnosis put all of that work on pause. “It was so bad I had to be rushed to the hospital,” Gunn, who has asthma, told HipHopDX. “I thought I was out of here and had already made calls to have everything in order, just in case… I thought I was going to die.”

During his recovery from COVID-19 and prior to the release of Pray for Paris, Gunn said that his famous friends like , , and Virgil Abloh motivated him to push through. “ with people like ‘Ye who showed me all these designs he was working on that inspired me to design even more too,” Westside Gunn said. “That’s what built this project, my connection to Paris and the people that spoke to me when I was sick.”