Skip to main content

Desiigner, Pusha T & More Enlist for New Spotify Movement ‘I’m With the Banned’

Desiigner, Pusha T, K.Flay and more participate in new Spotify initiative "I'm With the Banned."

The unifying power of music is at the heart of an original series being launched today (July 6) by Spotify. “I’m With the Banned” pairs artists from the six countries cited in President Trump’s March 6 travel ban with six American counterparts for a musical movement targeted to amplify the voices of people and communities that have been silenced.

Desiigner, Pusha T, Sam Harris from X Ambassadors, K.Flay, BJ the Chicago Kid and Blue Note’s Dr. Lonnie Smith are the stateside artists participating in “I’m With the Banned.” All six are from Universal Music Group, with whom Spotify worked closely on the initiative. The international artists joining forces from the banned countries include DJ/producer Kasra V (Iran), singer/songwriter Moh Flow (Syria), the musical collective Waayaha Cusub (Somali), singer/songwriter multi-instrumentalist Methal (Yemen), producer/beatmaker Sufyvn (the Sudan) and singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Ahmed Fakroun (Libya).


Watch the “I’m With the Banned” trailer:

In a statement given to Billboard, Spotify chief marketing officer Seth Farbman said, “Throughout history, artists have sought to give voices to those who are not being heard. Their music has created understanding and community during times when it has been in short supply — civil rights, unpopular wars, all-too-frequent moments of social and personal grief. ‘I’m With the Banned’ is an idea that was born from the culture of our times and one we hope will remind us of the power of music to bring people together and ease our pain. What politics can’t seem to mend, maybe music can.” 

Focusing on various issues ranging from immigration to LGBTQ equality, “I’m With the Banned” debuts with a series of enhanced playlists that will feature new music, artist collaborations, performances and original video content. A full-length documentary encompassing each international artist’s personal story will be available in the fall. Because of the travel ban’s restrictions on visiting the U.S., the documentary was filmed in Toronto.

A roster of producers and songwriters rounds out the list of “I’m With the Banned” collaborators. The producer front includes The Stereotypes (Bruno Mars, Justin Bieber), Doc McKinney (The Weeknd, Drake) and Matty Tavares (Kendrick Lamar, BadBadNotGood). Among the songwriter participants are Clarence Coffee Jr. (Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez) and E. Kidd Bogart (Beyonce, Ryan Tedder, Madonna).


The “I’m With the Banned” track list includes:

Kasra V feat. K.Flay – “Justify You”

Moh Flow feat. Pusha T – “Options”

Waayaha Cusub feat. Desiigner – “Durbaan Ka li Tuma”

Methal feat. X Ambassadors – “Cycles”

Sufyvn feat. BJ The Chicago Kid – “Thinking ‘Bout You (Sleepless in Cairo)”

Ahmed Fakroun feat. Dr. Lonnie Smith – “Salam”