Spotify has curated playlists reflecting the local flavor of each stop on HuffPost’s “Listen to America” tour using location-based data to find out what people are really listening to in 20-plus cities. Check back for more from Sept. 12 through Oct. 30.
Not only is Memphis the Blues City, it claims itself as the Birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll. And for good reason ― you could throw a stone and hit a dozen live music clubs here.
This Mississippi River–side city is where legends like Aretha Franklin and Elvis Presley (whose Graceland home stands nearby) got their start in the industry. Isaac Hayes, a creative force in blues who earned an Oscar and two Grammys for his “Shaft” theme, hailed from Memphis along with a number of groups including Southern Avenue, the Bar-Keys and Bobby “Blue” Bland. Others from the area include rapper Yo Gotti (who recently teamed with Nicki Minaj for the hit “Rake It Up”), country-pop singer Kelsea Ballerini, rapper Juicy J, alt-country group Lucero and ’70s singer Chris Bell.
Our data analysis found that Memphis residents are partial to a mix of soul, R&B and rap, with rappers Young Dolph and Kenny Muney distinctively popular along with Chrisette Michele and Jazmine Sullivan. (Ed. Note: We regret to report that Marc Cohn’s 1991 hit, “Walking in Memphis,” did not meet the criteria for this list. However, it is rather punishingly stuck in this writer’s head.) A smattering of Top 40 rounds out the list, available below:
Spotify playlists for the “Listen to America” campaign were created by looking at each location’s most popular songs (streaming in the highest numbers at time of publication), distinctive songs (currently being streamed more in this city compared to all other cities in the world) and tracks from local artists. While many picks are data-driven, some songs are handpicked from data lists to assure the playlists reflect a variety of genres and decades, as well as a healthy gender balance.