Presented by: Bacardi
Major Lazer started their new year with a bang: in January, the trio released “Run Up,” a festive, cotton-candy number full of formidable rapping from Nicki Minaj and gummy vocals from the R&B singer PARTYNEXTDOOR. The result was yet another win for Major Lazer’s immensely popular, Caribbean-inflected yet genre-agnostic sound: “Run Up” has racked up more than 180 million streams to date. And the single also represented the first step in a bold new partnership with the spirits company Bacardí, which was dubbed “The Sound of Rum.”
The alliance between Bacardí and Major Lazer has quickly ballooned beyond music to encompass live events (Spirit Up, which took place in Miami last month) and a new brand of rum (the Major Lazer Limited Edition just hit shelves nationwide and can also be found at ReserveBar.com/majorlazer). Best of all, Bacardí and Major Lazer teamed up on MusicLiberatesMusic.com, a new program — possibly the first of its kind — for subsidizing studio time for up-and-coming Caribbean artists via Spotify streaming: the more you stream, the more recording time they get.
The multifaceted nature of this collaboration is fitting, considering The Sound of Rum is impossible to confine within a single category — it’s irrepressible, aware of tradition but never hemmed in by it, with elements pulled from dance music, rap, dancehall, reggae and more.
Major Lazer member Diplo suggested that his group’s relationship with Bacardí was a natural fit. “We’re down with working with people who want to accelerate what we want to do musically, invest in our ideas, and create cultural moments and memories,” he said in a statement. “Bacardí rum has been in the studios with us for ages and is part of the island vibe that inspires our sound, so the partnership comes from a deeper, more meaningful place.”
“The way Bacardí celebrates music and culture matches how we celebrate music and culture,” added Major Lazer’s Walshy Fire. “They totally feel us when we say we want to make the world smaller by making the party bigger.”
Their party-expansion mission kicked into high gear on June 1st, when Major Lazer surprise-released six new tracks — including collaborations with stars in hip-hop (Quavo), pop (Camila Cabello), reggaeton (J Balvin), Soca (Machel Montano), dancehall (Konshens) and more — on the Know No Better EP. Next comes Major Lazer’s Limited Edition rum, which the trio developed in conjunction with Maestro de Ron Manny Oliver. Bacardí has never before collaborated on a new variant of rum in the 155-year history of the company so this is a big deal. The spirit contains a blend of light and darks rums, with tasting notes appropriate for the summer season: tropical fruit, cedar, almonds and vanilla.
The Music Liberates Music program will undoubtedly be crucial in furthering that impact: between June 6th and June 30th in the U.S., every stream of Major Lazer’s “Front of the Line” featuring Machel Montano and Konshens will result in Bacardí donating free studio time to aspiring Caribbean artists. In addition to listening for a good cause, Bacardi created the first-ever Snapchat lenses – out today June 22nd – that together put Snapchatters in the spotlight of their own music video-like experience as they jam to Major Lazer’s new hit. Bacardi will produce the sound of rum track into an epic supercut with a compilation of snaps they receive from fans — the first-ever music video created from custom Snapchat lenses.
The Sound of Rum exists cheerfully oblivious of the borders that separate nations and genres, and with Music Liberates Music, Bacardí and Major Lazer will help foster the same spirit in the next generation of up-and-coming artists. “That spirit is livelier than ever,” Bacardí asserts, “and it can’t be tamed.”