Spotify launched Beat School, a new three-part global video series celebrating the unique and diverse sounds of African music.
In recent years, African music has been on the rise as artists from across the continent have broken into mainstream genres with all-star collaborations and genre-bending fusions. To highlight this, the series brings together African music’s cultural leaders and rising stars to highlight three distinct sub-genres and showcase the full breadth of music coming out of the content.
Spinall and Juls both belong to the Grammy oversight body the Recording Academy and boast extensive catalogs and features with leading names in Afrobeats. The pair delve into the influences that have shaped their music, as well as an exciting band of new acts including Omah Lay, Tems, and Bella Shmurda.
On his definition of music, Spinall said: “I just love to focus on the music itself. Afro[beats] is all about rhythm, drum, percussion, instrumentation, and playing your soul out. There are too many stories to the music we make.”
“I don’t even feel like you can even call it a genre,” Juls noted. “I just feel like it’s just all these amazing African genres of music: fuji, highlife, soukous… all of these sounds coming together.”
He added that he’s “in a place where I want to make the best music I possibly can. I’m trying to be creatively free. There are so many obstacles that make you feel like you need to be making something that you don’t really want to make, but I just want to be as unapologetically African as possible in whatever I do. That’s what Afrobeats instills in you.”
Spinall pins Afrobeats’ recent global ascent down to culture. “There are a lot of Black people who travel all around the world and insist on what they want to eat. They insist on the kind of music they want to listen to. Those are the superheroes that don’t get talked about [in] how our sound blew up all around the world. I see us as one of the domineering forces when it comes to music. In the future, I see us breaking all those walls. We’re already breaking a lot of walls. I see even a different level of African productions. I see us doing unimaginable things.”
The video series forms part of Spotify’s ongoing commitment to promoting African music and artists on its platform. The DSP has over 100 African genre-related playlists. Other initiatives by the DSP include the Afro Hub, RADAR, Fresh Finds, EQUAL as well as Spotify Sound Up programme for aspiring podcasters from the continent.
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