Last updated on Monday February 11th, 2019
In this post you will find great chat I had with Ghanaian DJ Boat agyei. He is the owner of an afrobeats Spotify playlist that has over 50000 followers and the amount is increasing.
He answered my questions kindly in a great manner. If you like Afropop, want to find out more, or even if you don’t know anything about Afropop? you should read this post.
Here we go!
Who is Boat Agyei? What does he do?
“My full name is Joseph Boateng (Boat) Agyei. I was born in the Eastern part of Ghana and moved to Bronx, NY in 2013. My love for music started at a very early age back in Ghana. I would spend hours listening to the radio, enjoying the new African/Ghanaian/American songs that came on the radio. I listen to and enjoy most music genres but really started getting into Afrobeats/Afropop/African music back in college. I always had a fascination for arranging songs and choosing specific songs to entertain. I started djing in college and continue to do so. I have 3 main hobbies, playing/watching soccer, music (playlisting, djing, listening etc) and cooking.”
How do you spend your free time? Anything about your personal life?
“Lately, most of my free time is spent thinking about and working on different projects to creatively bring music to my listeners/followers. I have a true passion for using music curation as an avenue to uplift Africa and show the world that we have an unique sound and culture that’s contrary to what most people see on TV and in the news, which mostly focuses on the poverty and conflicts in Africa. Additionally, I love connecting everyone around the world who’s interested in this music genre by introducing them to new sounds.”
You own a Spotify playlist that has over 50000 followers and it keeps growing. That is a great number of followers for an individual. How does it feel?
“It’s been wonderful watching the playlist grow. It feels amazing to have so many people support what I do. I am happy to have a captive audience and I work hard everyday to try to bring them the best afrobeats/afropop/afrobashment/African music out there. It’s all about the followers!”
Are you getting any feedback about your playlist? What can you say about that?
“I’ve received a lot of positive feedback. The feedback encourage me to continue working on the playlist but also help me understand what is working and not working in terms of the songs I select for the playlist.
So, this playlist is all about Afropop. How can you describe Afropop in few words for people who never heard?
“Afropop in my opinion is a sub-category of a bigger genre of music, which I describe as Afrobeats (Afro Beats), Afrobeats in my opinion is a sub-category of African Music. Each African country has a unique sound out of that songs comes Afrobeats which comes from West Africa (mainly Nigeria and Ghana) but spreading rapidly across the continent. Although this song genre originates from Africa, it’s been made popular around the globe due to it’s prominence in UK and other western countries. Afropop is the newer sound of Afrobeats, it’s a mixture of African sounds and western music, whether that is Pop, R&B or HipHop.”
In your opinion, What is so special about Afropop?
“I think what makes Afropop special is the unique African sounds (beats) that it adds to some of the popular genres out there. The sound is very unique and very easy for those who are familiar with it to recognize at the same time, for those who are not familiar with the sound enjoy it, they recognize that it’s unique but may not be able to pinpoint why.”
Most songs are in English, but we also can hear words in different languages often. Can you name some of the languages that we hear?
“The languages includes Igbo (Nigeria), Yoruba (Nigeria) and Twi (Ghana) as well as languages from all over the African continent but most of the songs are in English. What’s unique is that you do not have to understand the language to enjoy the music, it’s more about the sound/feeling that the songs give you.”
Who rules the Afropop world? Any big names out there that you can mention?
“At the moment, I would say WizKid would be the top artist for the genre. He’s ability to cross over and collaborate with artists has exposed many who otherwise wouldn’t have known about the genre to it. Davido is big, Sarkodie, J Hus are a few that comes to mind.”
If you have to compare the music videos with American/European hits those have great budget and people behind them, what can you say about music videos for afropop hits?
“I have been impressed with Afrobeats music videos. They are getting better every year in terms of quality. I actually have an afrobeats playlist on youtube that has over 300K views and it’s growing rapidly.”
Are there any significant Collaborations between Afropop singers and American/European singers lately?
“Wizkid and Drake, Davido and Rae Srummers/Young Thug, Major Lazor and Ice Prince, NastyC, Mr. Eazy and Ty Dolla $ign, French Montana etc are a few.”
So, this genre is much more than the songs we hear at the background for african tour videos, can you name a few songs people must listen?
“There are a lot of really good songs coming out every week and I do a good job updating my playlist to reflect that. I’ll encourage people to check out my playlist regularly if they want to hear all the latest hits. Some of my current favorites are: Naughty Ride (wizkid), Particula (Major Lazer), Unsigned (Hardy Caprio).”
what about young and promising voices? Any names in your mind?
“There are so many new artists coming out almost on a daily basis. It has been really cool getting to hear all the new artists and I think the future of Afropop is great given all the talents out there right now. Stay tuned because I believe it gets better from here.”
You also have other playlists on Spotify, is it hard for you to maintain all of these? Or you are enjoying dedicating your time for them?
“It is not difficult all, I really enjoy curation and it brings me joy to know that I can choose songs for all my followers.”
“Check out my playlist if you haven’t and follow/share with friends. If you don’t have spotify, I have it on soundcloud, youtube, tidal, appleMusic, google music and soon I will have a website where you can enjoy all the music in one place. Search for Boat Agyei or Afrobeats 2017 on any of the platforms I mentioned.