NBCUniversal International Studios-owned prodco Monkey (Don’t Hate The Playaz, Celebrity Game Night) is dropping a beat and expanding into the kids hip hop music space. The prodco, which specializes in live-action unscripted shows for teens and adults, has inked a co-development deal with YouTube musician MC Grammar (2,600 subscribers).
Under the deal, Monkey will collaborate with MC Grammar (real name Jacob Mitchell) to co-develop and produce original animated and live-action content. MC Grammar, an elementary school teacher based in London, produces videos where he teaches kids about the English language through rap and rhyme. He’s appeared on Ellen, where he rapped Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham, with the video netting nearly 600,000 views.
Major music studios have been busy growing their kids offerings during the pandemic. Warner Music Group inked a deal with Mattel to become the exclusive distributor of the toyco’s catalogue of songs, while Universal Music Group partnered with LEGO to develop a new line of products designed to encourage children’s love of music. Meanwhile, Sony Music UK’s children’s and family entertainment label Magic Star partnered with European toy retailer Smyth Toys on wide-ranging recording deal.
While these companies aren’t new to kids music, these new efforts come as consumption of kids music has increased amid COVID-19, according to Rolling Stone and Billboard. On YouTube specifically, views on kids music has climbed 21%, market research firm Tubular Labs found.
There’s also been a growing trend in the kids industry towards embracing hip hop and rap music for kids. The genres are among the most popular among all audiences in the US, according to Rolling Stone and research from Statista, and it’s likely that popularity is trickling down to the youngest demo of listeners. Last year, Imagine Entertainment partnered with rapper Quavo, to develop an animated series for kids focused on Atlanta’s hip hop music and culture scene. More recently, preschool SVOD Hopster picked up 14 environment-focused rap songs from YouTuber MrEco, while Nickelodeon signed an overall deal with 13-year-old hop hop artist That Girl Lay Lay (1.1 million YouTube subscribers).