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Kalye X, Spotify’s Latest Initiative Dedicated to Pinoy Hip-Hop

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In an effort to expand the possibilities for Pinoy hip-hop, Spotify recently launched Kalye X, its latest initiative dedicated to collaborations between emerging and established artists, fans and the community.

As part of the initiative, Spotify worked with Pinoy hip-hop artists to release a series of Spotify Singles. A first of its kind in the Philippines, these original tracks bring together local artists to showcase the depth and diversity of Pinoy hip-hop.

From August until October, three Spotify Singles will be released featuring artists from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Kicking it off is the dynamic pairing of Midnasty and Cookie$, presenting their track as an ode to the vibrant Visayan scene. Hailing from Zamboanga, the inventive collective Morobeats led by DJ Medmessiah, who reimagines the sound of Mindanao hip-hop with their unique track. Lastly, representing the streets of Manila, Gloc 9, Hero and Ramdiss will pull off a three-way collaboration like no other.

“As a way to bring Spotify’s Kalye Hip-Hop playlist to life, Kalye X aims to amplify the everyday stories and experiences told by passionate artists and communities. With the growth of Pinoy hip-hop listenership doubling in the past year, it’s important that we empower our artists to share their craft with fans in a deeper way as well as push the boundaries of Pinoy hip-hop music culture,” said Kossy Ng, head of music for Spotify Asia.

Filipinos are fired up for hip-hop

Through its chest-thumping beats and infectious rapid-fire lyrics, hip-hop has generated a huge following among Filipinos, and many have developed an incredible appetite for Pinoy hip-hop. Local hip-hop songs witnessed an impressive 700 percent growth in local streams in the past five years while Spotify’s Kalye Hip-Hop playlist saw a five-fold increase in listenership since it launched in 2018.

Notably, listenership of Pinoy hip-hop also grew globally at 600 percent strong, with top markets including the United States, Canada, Australia and more. Spotify’s global reach not only gives artists the opportunity to connect with fans and potential new listeners from around the world but also serves as a way for Filipinos living overseas to stay connected to local culture.

Speaking at the launch party held in Brooklyn Warehouse in Manila, Kossy Ng, head of music for Spotify Asia, was joined by hip-hop artists Al James and Cookie$ and shared more insights on the vibrancy of the Pinoy hip-hop scene.

Filipino rapper and songwriter Al James gave a shoutout to the OG Pinoy rappers for inspiring him to pursue his own dreams. “Just by listening to them, they became my mentors. They passed on the energy of Pinoy hip-hop to us. I’m proud of what and where Pinoy hip-hop is now,” James said. He also weighed in on the possibilities of Pinoy hip-hop in the global scene, “Parang sabi ni Cookie$, na-represent niya ‘yung Cebuano. Kaya ng Cebuano, Tagalog, tumagos sa ibang bansa.”

Cookie$ shared how he found his voice as a way to represent his roots: “When I started rapping in Bisaya, I found my niche, and it made me stand out. My language has a very distinct sound and tends to be very passionate. It is important to put Bisaya culture on the map and inspire others looking to follow their passion. Spotify has been continuing to help me and other artists elevate Filipino talent while remaining true to our roots and distinct artistries.”

For the community, by the community

Spotify’s Kalye X launch brought together hip-hop artists and the community to celebrate the potential of Pinoy hip-hop, with live performances by Midnasty, Morobeats and Al James. Inspired by the Kalye Hip-Hop playlist, the interactive graffiti street art installation by Kayo Cosio and Trip63 breathed life into the venue while the dance battle featuring the Philippine All-Stars with music by DJ Jazz Zamora displayed hip-hop’s boundless energy.

Join the Kalye X’s journey as Spotify takes the launch of the three Spotify Singles to the heart of Cebu on 26 August, Davao on 23 September and Manila on 28 October, where artists will unveil and perform their latest tracks in the first-ever series of Spotify Kalye X concerts. For more information, follow @spotifyph on social media.

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