A Democratic Platform – WE PLUG GOOD MUSIC
Some of the greatest platforms available to us all today are platforms that seek to elevate the voices of artists of across genres. We Plug Good Music is one of those platforms which seeks to democratize music and honor the nuances of artistic expression, namely that of the Black diaspora. We had the pleasure of speaking to Ayo, the founder of We Plug Good Music about the driving mission behind the platform and the latest project “A Prelude to the Future,” available now at all DSPs and streaming services.
What is the driving mission behind We Plug Good Music?
Thank you for the question and the platform to share. For We Plug Good Music, we very much believe in the power of good music and our driving mission is showcase and highlight the best new and emerging music that very often get overlooked in mainstream spaces, and digging deeper into that, we really want to democratise the way new music is discovered and consumed so that more new and emerging artists get a chance of being heard. Our mission is to provide a relevant platform to promote and raise awareness for the best new music and artists, whether it is via media and publishing or PR and publicity or live music events or social media advertising.
What impact do you aim to have by remastering “A Prelude to the Future”?
I think we really just want to celebrate the artists that we profiled for the original project. It’s amazing to see how far some of these artists have come in the past 10 years – from Midian Mathers from LA who is now a Grammy winner and has written songs for Beyoncé to British R&B musician Shanaz Dorsett who is working with the Moshi Moshi-signed band Benin City while also teaching songwriting at the University of Westminster to Bez Idakula who is now one of Nigeria’s biggest soul exports with support from the likes of Rolling Stone and Vogue, I think it’s important to give these artists their flowers, and if, in the middle of us doing that, they can be introduced to a new generation of music listeners and audiences, then that is amazing too!
In what ways do you aim to represent the nuances of Black identity? What are some of the most fulfilling examples of the diversity of Black culture based on the artists you have shared on your platform?
Representing the different facets of black identity and culture in music is at the forefront of what we do, evidenced most clearly through the wide spectrum of artists that we choose to showcase. As a Nigerian-born, UK-based black person, I live those nuances and representing that comes naturally to us at We Plug Good Music, but with a strong focus on being intentional about it. Black music isn’t just hip-hop, R&B, soul, jazz or afrobeats. It is alt rap, it is hyperpop, it is alté, it is afroswing and it’s everything in between. We Plug Good Music creates space for all facets of black music to be showcased and highlighted.
In terms of examples of the diversity of black culture that we have shared on our platform, the first example that comes to mind is that on top of highlighting this diversity on our platform, we also ran a column on MTV for a few years called ‘alternative sound selection’ highlighting all the alternative black music that the network rarely covered and its audiences may not have known about, and our aim there was, as your question lays out, to show the diversity of black music and black music culture not just in the UK but globally. In that time, we had the privilege of highlighting artists like Ego Ella May, MNEK, Rainy Milo and Kojey Radical on a bigger platform like MTV, and now, just look at where they are.
We were also one of the first UK platforms to profile afrofusion front runner Burna Boy and this was from his very first album ‘L.I.F.E’ in 2013, and the same can be said for afrobeats star Wizkid, when we profiled his debut album ‘Superstar’ in 2011 and profiled him again in 2013. Another example for me personally come in the pan-african music industry, where we were among the first to support the alternative afrobeats movement from as far back as 2015 when mainstream platforms in that industry would not offer any support because they just didn’t understand the music coming from what they might have described as a niche community at the time. Fast-forward to 2021 and alternative afrobeats artists are among the most innovative across the continent.
Something I found interesting was how the first half is primarily women and the second half is primarily men; will there be more female rappers in future compilations?
I know right! We had two female rappers in that second half of the project versus eight male rappers in that half as well. Even though the project overall was pretty evenly split between male and female artists and contributors, you are definitely correct, the rap and hip-hop section of the project, which was the second half, was heavily skewed towards male rappers over female rappers. We were 18 months old at the time of the original project and we just hadn’t worked with that many female rap artists, but last year alone, we worked with some really exceptional rap artists that are women, from Nolay to Aina More to Naya Ali to Neru Thee Fourth Fugee, so for sure, there will much more female rap voices in our future compilations!
Special thank you to Linda Kadiri