Native Records, the music section of the media and content company Native Networks with a focus on Africa, and Def Jam Recordings have partnered.
Seni Saraki and Teni Zaccheaus, co-founders of Native Networks, and Tunji Balogun, chairman and CEO of Def Jam, announced the agreement on Tuesday.
“As we build a culture here at Def Jam that connects the best in global black music diaspora – from hip hop, R&B, reggae, Afrobeats and more – clearly some of the best, most vital, interesting and cutting-edge new artists and sounds in music today are coming out of the continent,” Balogun said.
The news comes a year after Balogun assumed leadership of the American label, which began its African section in 2020 and currently counts Stonebwoy, Stogie T, Cassper Nyovest, Nadia Nakai, Nasty C, Tellaman, and Vector among its roster of talented musicians.
“We are honoured to be invited into his new home, and to be the first joint venture partnership with an African company in Def Jam’s legendary history,” Native Records said.
Native Records has operations in Nigeria and the UK, and the arrangement forms part of the label’s vision to develop young African artists and promote youth culture. It is also expected to further the Afrobeats agenda championed by its mother company.
“We truly believe that for music, the continent is the most exciting place in the world right now. We want Native Records to be about artistic freedom, and as a company, we’ve always been passionate about discovering and working with artists that don’t quite colour within the lines and helping them to express themselves. Africa is not a monophonic continent, and we believe this partnership will prove just that,” the company added.
Native was founded in 2016 by Seni Saraki, Teni Zaccheaus, Shola Fagbemi, Addy Edgal and Suleiman Shittu to spotlight new sounds and urban culture from the continent and the diaspora.