Apple Music announced the launch of “Rap Life,” a new global playlist focusing on contemporary rap artists and culture. It replaces the former “The A-List: Hip-Hop” playlist. It also plans to leverage Beats 1 to launch a new weekly show and daily segments around it. Spearheaded by Ebro Darden, global editorial head of hip-hop and R&B at Apple Music, Rap Life will be representative of the genre worldwide.
“We flipped it to dig deeper into into the lifestyle [and to] keep pushing the culture forward”, said Ebro Darden. “Rap isn’t just a genre. There’s a reason it’s sometimes simply called The Culture: It’s a way of life”, he adds.
The move will give Apple a flagship playlist around the world’s most popular genre. It now competes against Spotify’s Rap Caviar (which boasts more than 11 million followers) and Amazon Prime Music’s Rap Rotation playlists.
“I think for us it’s not about being one dimensional,” Darden says when asked why Apple Music is so successful in hip-hop. “We have multiple things happening to help an artist reach an audience. I attribute it to that. We’re a very dynamic service. We have tools beyond just an app. If you are an Apple Music user and you really know the depth of it, we do a lot with Beats 1, on-demand content, artist pages, there’s a lot of stuff there. We’re still getting better. Year after year we’ll work to listen to the consumer and watch what they like about us and try to make adjustments to accommodate them.”
In addition to the rebranded Apple Music playlist, Darden will host a Rap Life segment on his daily Beats 1 Radio show and there will be a weekly Rap Life program as well.
“Rap Life will update as the culture updates,” Darden tells Billboard. “We will move at the speed of culture and some weeks that will be daily as new marquee material drops.”
Apple Music has dominated streaming when it comes to hip-hop. Routinely beating Spotify in engagement around major hip-hop releases, most notably in the first week. Drake’s last two projects, Scorpion and More Life, and Post Malone’s 2017 single “Rockstar” featuring 21 Savage all pulled in more streams on Apple Music than Spotify during their first weeks, despite Spotify having a considerably larger user base.
Rap Life is now available on Apple Music.