A few years ago Spotify began charting the most popular songs in major markets around the globe with a playlist for each city, including Milwaukee. Each playlist is algorithmically compiled to spotlight the songs most uniquely popular in each market, which is why they aren’t all just an endless scroll of Cardi B tracks and “Old Town Road” remixes, and since the Milwaukee playlist is updated frequently, it provides real-time insight into the city’s listening habits.
A quick check in on Spotify’s “Sound of Milwaukee” playlist affirms that Milwaukeeans really, really love Milwaukee rap. While local rap always performs well on Spotify’s Milwaukee chart, this summer it’s especially dominant. Of the 10 most uniquely popular tracks in the city right now, eight are from Milwaukee rappers. Interestingly the top tracks are a mix of brand-new Milwaukee songs (including Chosen Kidd’s “High Speed,” currently the top track, and Gtb’wayne and 54 Baby Trey’s “Crack Musuc”) and older staples (including LBM Oneway and Solowke’s 2017 hit “Federal.”)
Only one of the top 10 songs in Milwaukee’s chart is a non-rap song: a live track from the alternative band Bleachers. Detroit rap also makes a strong showing on the playlist, with high-charting tracks from Baby Smoove, Sada Baby and Dame Dot.
Elsewhere there are tracks from artists with Wisconsin ties (including Bon Iver’s “Jelmore” at #23 and Sylvan Esso’s “PARAD(w/e)E” at #27). Summerfest may have influenced the charts a bit, since many artists who recently played the festival are ranking high (including The Head and the Heart, Atmosphere and Courtney Barnett). Why, however, Dave Matthews Band’s “Stay Or Leave – Live at Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL – September 2010” is particularly popular here right now is anybody’s guess.
You can stream the playlist below. And for some perspective on how much these playlists vary from market to market, compare it to Spotify’s “Sound of Madison Wisconsin” playlist, which seems compiled from another world entirely.