Apple Music is rebranding one of its biggest playlists, The A-List: Hip-Hop, as Rap Life, and will 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 largely feature hip-hop from North American artists, but Apple tells Billboard it will also be representative of the genre worldwide.
The move will give Apple a flagship playlist around the world’s most popular genre that can compete against Spotify’s Rap Caviar and Amazon’s Rap Rotation playlists. Darden will host a Rap Life segment during his daily Beats 1 show and there will be a weekly show (also called Rap Life), which will feature music from the playlist and cultural discussions around hip-hop.
“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.
“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.”
Rap Life is now available on Apple Music.