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What the growth of hip-hop music on YouTube means for artists, advertisers and the music industry

I remember the first time I ever heard “Juicy” by Notorious B.I.G. 

DJ Peter Johns, who always had the latest songs, played it, and I knew the sample from my dad’s records. A line in that song goes: “You never thought that hip-hop would take it this far” stood out, and it stays true to this day. The growth of hip-hop continues to blow the minds of those who love it and follow it closely.

The year 2020 was hard, but that challenge didn’t stop the music. And it didn’t stop fans from connecting and engaging with artists on YouTube, particularly in hip-hop. Artists broke new records and released empowering anthems. Despite the pandemonium of the pandemic, over 2 billion viewers logged in and watched a music video each month on YouTube. The genre that stood out during that time: hip-hop. 

... of the top three genres on YouTube in the U.S. ... hip-hop is the fastest growing”

Now we gotta back up that claim. Well, here are some facts: of the top three genres on YouTube in the U.S. — hip-hop, rock and pop — hip-hop is the fastest growing.1 And between October through December 2020, hip-hop was the most-viewed music genre on YouTube in the U.S.2 Finally, hip-hop artists occupied all 10 spots in YouTube’s top 10 most-viewed artists in the U.S. list last year, meaning its influence on culture is not just here to stay, it’s increasing. Facts!

Back to “Juicy” for a second. There’s another line that says “reach for the stars.” We are the world’s largest and most comprehensive music platform and we recognize where viewers are spending their time. 

We’re also here to help advertisers reach music fans. The rise of hip-hop on YouTube presents advertisers with a tremendous opportunity to reach music fans where they’re watching, and support diverse creators and artists. 

That’s why we’ve introduced an expanded YouTube Select music lineup that includes even more popular, verified hip-hop music. We’re also adding more hip-hop artists to our dynamic hip-hop music lineups across the globe. 

In January, we launched the #YouTubeBlack Voices grant program as part of our global, multi-year commitment to center and grow Black creators and artists on our platform. The grant program is an initiative dedicated to equipping and amplifying Black creators and artists with the resources to succeed on our platform. We’re adding the artists from the Black Voices Class of 2021 to existing dynamic music lineups for advertisers to buy.

Levi quote

Levi’s® is leveraging the dynamic hip-hop music lineup and videos from the Black Voices Class of 2021 to promote its independent film, “Beauty of Becoming,” an inspirational story from filmmaker Oge Egbuonu that challenges us all to be our most authentic selves.

Meanwhile, advertisers like BET are seeing tremendous success from their investments in hip-hop music content on YouTube. BET leveraged the rap and hip-hop dynamic lineup and other relevant contextual and audience-based solutions to drive 4% lift in consideration and 21% lift in searches for the 2020 BET hip-hop Awards. 

We’re proud to offer brands more opportunities to reach hip hop fans on YouTube, and support diverse creators and artists at the same time. And we’re reaching for the stars.

 1. YouTube Internal Data, Q4 2020, US

 2. YouTube Internal Data, Q4 2020, US