Spotify’s KALYE X Campaign Illuminates Pinoy Hip-Hop

Pinoy hip-hop is overtaking the music scene in the Philippines, and the lively beats of Filipino artists are finding their way to listeners far beyond the geographical borders of the country. “The genre reflects the energy, how organic the art form is, and how accessible rapping is to everyone,” shares Chesca Tan, Spotify’s Lead Editor for Philippines. “Pinoy hip-hop is gritty; it’s street.”

To celebrate Pinoy hip-hop’s massive growth on Spotify—a more than 700% increase in streams in the Philippines since 2018—we launched KALYE X. For the uninitiated, “kalye” means “street” in Filipino. The initiative celebrates the collaboration between artists, fans and community, and serves as an extension of Spotify’s popular Kalye Hip-Hop playlist. “This playlist is home to the best of Pinoy hip-hop tracks, also enabling artists to be discovered and reach more fans in the Philippines and beyond—gaining listeners from 184 countries,” says Chesca.

The KALYE X campaign kicked off with an unforgettable street-themed party. It featured live performances from contemporary Pinoy hip-hop icons Al James, Morobeats and Midnasty; a hip-hop dance showdown; street graffiti; and a chat session with Spotify’s Head of Music, Kossy Ng, about the vibrant culture of the Pinoy hip-hop genre. The launch was a testament to the vibrant tapestry of Pinoy hip-hop culture.

We also teamed up with six local artists from the three main islands of the Philippines—Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao—to record and release three new Spotify Singles. Each track showcases the depth and diversity listeners can find in Pinoy hip-hop.

Midnasty and Cookie$ bring the best of Bisaya beats in the track “Wa Na Wa.” “I have been dedicating my music and craft to take Bisaya hip-hop beyond Visayas, and this collaboration with Midnasty is an important step in that direction,” explains Cookie$. “Working with Spotify allows us to transcend boundaries and share the vibrant Bisaya culture through our music. I hope this latest track not only empowers our fans but also creates a legacy that resonates far beyond our hometown.”

Gloc-9, Hero, and Ramdiss pulled off a three-way mash-up for their song “Umaga” that represents the island of Luzon. “I love writing songs about real stories and struggles of people, and being able to capture what we go through every day,” says Gloc-9. “As an artist, I want my music to resonate with everyone, hip-hop fan or not. That is why I take pride in creating songs that tell people’s stories like what we did here.”

Morobeats reimagines Mindanao hip-hop on their single, “Kendeng.” DJ Medmessiah, a founding member of the group, says, “We’re proud and excited that the rest of the world will hear ‘Kendeng.’ We’ve been dedicating our music and talent to showcase the rich Mindanaoan culture and share our style of hip-hop, and this collaboration with Spotify is providing us with that opportunity.”

After spending time in the studio, the artists took to the stage for Spotify-hosted performances of their Spotify Singles in Cebu, Davao, and Manila. The excitement was palpable as nearly 6,000 fans attended the shows. The love for these songs spans the globe, and the artists and their Spotify Singles were featured on a billboard in New York City’s Times Square.

Learn more about these diverse and talented artists in our Spotify Singles documentary.

Want more Pinoy hip-hop? Check out our Kalye playlist below.