The Ebro Show

A defining character of New York’s music scene and a trusted voice in hip-hop, Apple Music 1 host Ebro Darden brings the city's urgent mix of music and culture to the world. “When I hear something with real heart and energy,” he says, “I want everyone to hear it.” Ebro splits his time at Apple Music as host of his namesake show and Rap Life Radio and global editorial head of hip-hop and R&B, genres in which Apple Music has proved dominant. A longtime fixture in New York radio, he brings a five-boroughs outlook to Apple Music 1’s global audience, but in a way that incorporates both music from all over the African diaspora and Black culture’s worldwide impact. Shot in Apple Music’s studio near Manhattan’s Union Square, The Ebro Show “has a New York City lens, but because New York City is an international city, we embrace a lot of different cultures,” Ebro—who grew up in the Bay Area but has called New York home for decades—explains. “We lean heavily on rap, but hip-hop is a very international music, so through there comes what's going on in Africa, what's going on in the UK, what's going on in Latin America, what's going on in Australia, what's going on in Asia. I don't know of any show that plays as much Caribbean music as we play.” But the show doesn’t only touch on music. “I don’t shy away from talking about social issues as it pertains to the community, specifically Black and brown people,” Ebro adds. “I try to find records that speak to that, music that speaks to that.” Tune in to hear Ebro on The Ebro Show every Monday through Thursday at 12 pm LA/3 pm NY/8 pm LDN and on Rap Life Radio every Friday at 10 am LA/1 pm NY/6 pm LDN. Hometown: New York City My earliest musical memory: “Probably listening to George Duke and Chuck Mangione in my dad's Cadillac. And my cousin had [Michael Jackson’s] Off the Wall album. I remember distinctly her showing me the album, like, ‘This is the most important music right now.’” How I fell in love with hip-hop: “I was probably six, seven, and me and my friends used to stand outside [department store] Gemco and pop and break and all that to get money so that we could go buy music. I was listening to the radio when KRS-One came on KMEL in San Francisco and said, ‘This is where hip-hop lives.’ Everybody was like, ‘What?'” My first music job: “I got my first radio internship at 15. I wasn't on the air, I was doing research. I would call people's houses and play them hooks of songs to get their opinion. But they told me my real name [Ibrahim] was too ethnic, and nobody would pick up the phone, so I changed my name and code-switched my voice to sound more proper, all that shit.” How I connected to the fight for social justice: “It was a prerequisite for the family and the world I grew up in. When you loved hip-hop, and you saw the Africa medallions, you were rapping Stetsasonic’s ‘A.F.R.I.C.A.’ and learning about pan-Africanism, when your dad used to listen to The Last Poets and Gil Scott-Heron and you grow up knowing about the Black Panthers and Huey P. Newton—both from the Bay Area—you got to know about it. If you don't know, then you don't get to have an opinion.” What keeps me inspired on the mic: “Life keeps me inspired—the human experience, the desire humans have to share an energy, a feeling, a story. I wanted to be an anthropologist and a sociologist, which is what I ended up going to college for; I didn't finish college, but I discovered I have a love for culture and the study of how people socialize. What are things that make people happy? As a DJ, as a curator, as a programmer, as a host, you're bringing something to the audience; you absorb what people are feeling and what they need to get through the day. There's this thing in the music, this vibration—I find joy in watching people respond to that. I believe that that’s packed into our DNA, or maybe our learned behavior from cultural experiences; certain sounds mean certain things to people. As a hip-hop fan, you know when you hear them drums in a certain way, you're like, 'Wait a minute, what we about to do right now?' As a fan of salsa, you hear them horns hit a certain way, and you're like, 'It's time.'” Something people don’t know about me: “I never have listened to an entire interview of mine. Only thing I really listen to is if I screwed something up, to see how I screwed it up.” *My All-Time Classic Albums:* Stevie Wonder, Songs in the Key of Life Michael Jackson, Off the Wall Guns N' Roses, Appetite for Destruction Sade, Love Deluxe The D.O.C., No One Can Do It Better. Dr. Dre, The Chronic. A Tribe Called Quest, Midnight Marauders Alex: Eric B. & Rakim, Paid in Full. Kendrick Lamar, DAMN Gang Starr, Hard to Earn Keith Sweat, Make It Last Forever Guy, Guy New Edition, N.E. Heart Break Bel Bio DeVoe, Poison. Wu-Tang Clam, 36 Chambers Nas, Illmatic Jay-Z, The Blueprint Mobb Deep, The Infamous. 50 Cent, Get Rich or Die Tryin' Tupac, All Eyez on Me OutKast ATLiens, Aquemini Slick Rick, Great Adventures of Slick Rick. Lauryn Hill, Miseducation of Lauren Hill The Fugees, The Score The Roots, Things Fall Apart. Blackstar, Blackstar “Just put Kanye West. He got hammers!”