For as long as I can remember, I’ve heard music a little different than many of my friends. While some people might simply hear a song, I hear and associate sounds, colors, pictures, themes, lyrics, production elements… all flying around in my head and colliding with other sounds, colors, pictures and themes of other songs. It’s either magical or weird, or some combination of the two. Yeah, probably that.
As I’ve written about a couple times before (like here and here), I love making playlists. One of my absolute favorite things is to curate a group of songs along a certain theme, sound, genre, event or season, and shape them into an experience… a collection of sounds that is greater than the sum of its parts. Many years ago, this took the form of mix tapes I’d make and give to my friends. As technology progressed, I made custom themed mix CDs. I would obsess over the theme, the songs, the sequence of the tracks and the overall story it was telling. Obsess, I say!
These days, there are all kinds of ways for music lovers to pull together their favorite songs into custom playlists. The options and applications used for playlist curation are many and continually increasing. One of my favorites is Spotify. The $10 I spend each month for my Spotify Premium subscription is probably the best $10 I spend, period. I still buy a fair amount of music, but platforms like Spotify are priceless for exposing me to and giving me access to worlds and worlds of music I wouldn’t have otherwise ever known about. I easily (and frequently) get lost discovering new artists, songs and albums, and creating playlists on Spotify has become one of my favorite hobbies.
All that to say… the next phase of my musical curation inclination has arrived. I’ve been invited by the team at Spotify to be one of their official “Tastemakers”, creating custom playlists for them to feature on their central channels! It’s going to be a fun opportunity to get to exercise my love and ear for music in a way that a broad audience will have the access and ability to experience. It’s funny how opportunities can find you, and I’m pretty stoked about this one!
For my first playlist, I wanted to focus on an area of the musical spectrum that, while it’s profile is increasing rapidly, is often largely under-represented and still widely misunderstood. Christian Hip-Hop.
Christian Hip-Hop has come a long way. No really. Like… a LONG way. Artists like Lecrae, Andy Mineo, Social Club, Da’ T.R.U.T.H., Swoope and Eshon Burgundy are not just trail blazers as Christians who make credible, excellent art for the culture, but torch bearers for an entire generation, representing the Kingdom with excellence in their craft. Dig a little deeper past the artists who are the most visible and there are many more on their grind, proclaiming the fame of Christ to their generation through the vehicle of Hip-Hop.
So, my first official Tastemaker playlist is just that… #SameTeam, a finger on the pulse of what is happening across the landscape of Christian Hip-Hop. #SameTeam is being featured in the Christian genre section on Spotify and is also currently the only user-curated playlist for Christian Hip-Hop on the entire platform. I’ll be updating it regularly with new releases, new artists and even throwbacks and album cuts. Whether you’re a fan of Christian Hip-Hop, know someone who is or haven’t checked it out in awhile, I invite you to follow the playlist, share it with friends and check out what’s happening!