Today, Amazon Music launches “+44” – a brand dedicated to representing the sound of the UK, spotlighting and celebrating the best UK rap, R&B, grime, drill and afrobeats music and the artists behind it. “+44” is not only a playlist featuring the artists of today and tomorrow. It also exists as a space to celebrate and amplify these black music genres, the artists that make the music, as well as the culture behind it – connecting audiences to the artists they love via original content on +44’s Instagram handle.
The “+44” playlist will be updated regularly to represent the latest hot new tracks as they’re released – from big names in the scene as well as emerging talent – and will feature a different cover artist each week. At launch, the playlist will celebrate collectives and collaborators, amplifying Essie Gang, Mini Kingz plus MizOrMac, Loski and Blanco via three different week 1 playlist covers.
In the playlist, expect to find music from the likes of AJ Tracey, Darkoo, Unknown T, Koffee, Pa Salieu and Lavida Loca. Amazon Music customers can listen to the “+44” playlist here or can simply say “Alexa, play +44” in the Amazon Music app for iOS and Android and on Alexa-enabled devices. “+44” replaces the “UK Fire” playlist.
Through its social channel, “+44” will drop performance-led pieces, quick-fire interviews and artist-led stories that take audiences deeper into the music and closer to artists. This kicks off with a feature called Artist Spotlight, showcasing the diversity of sound in the UK via short documentaries that feature insightful interviews with artists, giving audiences a deeper understanding of the trajectory of the artists they love, as well as ones they may only be discovering.
In three separate Artist Spotlights dropping on Instagram next week, “+44” hears from collectives representing some of the different sounds that can be heard in the playlist. From Mini Kingz (Oscar #Worldpeace, Ragz Originale and BenjiFlow) who as the newer collective on the scene say they “represent everyone else”; Octavian, J Rick, Michael Phantom and L3 – who as four eclectic artists, influenced by all parts of London – adapt into the fusion they call Essie Gang; to Loski, Blanco and MizOrMac who more recently have gained traction individually within the UK rap scene.
In Artist Spotlight, the artists delve into their creative process, how they came together and collaborate, as well as how they discover and celebrate UK music. Audiences can hear:
- Loski talking about the state of the music scene now, his thoughts on Drill hitting America, and about working with Blanco and MizOrMac: “Collectives come and go, that’s been happening for years, but when it’s your friends, and you’re all basically solo acts. If they’re doing well, you’re also doing well”.
- Oscar #Worldpeace talking about being a part of the Mini Kingz collective and how it also inspires his solo music: “My crew is giving me hope and making me feel like – rah this ting is crazy what we’re doing over here – and it inspires my music and I hope it’s the same on their end as well.”
- Essie Gang talk about representing the culture of London and showcasing it to the rest of the world, as well as not conforming to stereotypes: “We have our own independent images and characters and we don’t deliberately subscribe to certain stereotypes that you get rewarded for”.
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