Beyond Genre: A Playlist

My favourite part about making playlists on Spotify is finding the one “thing” that connects the songs to one another. The general theme of the playlist is probably the most important part, and from there, the rest flows freely. “Beyond Genre” was created in the same way. As a musician and lover of jazz, it’s interesting to see the many ways artists take the jazz genre and tweak it to create new waves of music that can’t be classified into one section or another. This playlist is a compilation of music that isn’t necessarily jazz, but where we can recognize influences through chords, melodies, or harmonization. 


Far from Here - Busty & the Bass ft. Magi Merlin

An artist who has found their way onto this playlist is Busty & The Bass, a Canadian band started in 2011 in Montreal. Their personal sound is so unique as it involves a vocal line, horns, stringed instruments and many more. This  song, “Far from Here” featuring another Montreal artist, Magi Merlin, is their brand new single and has a special place in this playlist for me. They are known to be a band that incorporates multiple musical genres into their tracks, and this track is a perfect representation of that. Magi Merlin’s addition to the track offers a playful yet soulful vibe, and the jazz influences are clear. Although they currently have two studio albums produced by artists such as KAYTRANADA and Tyler, the Creator, Busty & The Bass’ unique style is well brought out through this song. Their sound is similar to other artists such as Hiatus Kaiyote (whose tracks are also found on my Beyond Genre playlist) and Thundercat, probably one of my favourite bassists.


Black Qualls - Thundercat ft. Childish Gambino, Steve Lacy, Steve Arrington

Thundercat’s song “Black Qualls” deserves an honorary mention due to how complex the sounds found in it are. From funk to R&B, soul, electronica, and jazz, Thundercat truly is a genre-bending artist. Featuring Childish Gambino, Steve Lacy, and Steve Arrington, “Black Qualls” offers listeners a fun funky vibe with heavy jazz influences. The lyrics regard the fears of living as a young, black man in America and the struggles they are faced with. Due to this, the song hits close to home in many ways than one. Off his 2020 album It Is What It Is, Thundercat has various other songs that portray his style, and yet I choose to speak about “Black Qualls” because of its message, and the strong bassline that can be heard throughout the entirety of the song. If someone were ever in doubt of how talented a bassist Thundercat was, “Black Qualls” is definitely a song to listen to. 


Two Worlds Apart - Little Simz

As my goal for “Beyond Genre” was to essentially introduce the world to versatile artists and jazz influences, it’s necessary to mention a musician whom I wholeheartedly respect due to the sort of impact their music has had in my life. Little Simz is a British-Nigerian rapper, singer and actress who draws her inspiration from jazz, R&B, and blues. “Two Worlds Apart” off her 2021 album Sometimes I Might Be Introvert is one song in which these influences can be heard and felt, and perfectly represents the sounds and style she is trying to relay through her music. The track may be recognizable to many through its brilliant sample of Smokey Robinson’s song “The Agony & the Ecstasy”. The lyrics communicate a message of family issues, violence, and racism. 

Feel - Jacob Collier ft. Lianne La Havas

This artist is Jacob Collier, and if I had no true self-control I would’ve added his entire discography to the playlist. Collier is an English singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. He is one of those people the world gravitates towards based on the way he speaks about music and his love for it. I don’t believe his music can be categorized as it’s derived from indie, neo-soul and jazz. He has a magical way of incorporating his love for the jazz genre into his art to create entire works. The song “Feel” featuring Lianne La Havas from his album Djesse Vol. 2 is a perfect representation of how he utilizes jazz influences, chords and harmonization and works them into his music. He is amazing in the way he makes and performs music, and many musicians can feel this through “Feel”.

“Beyond Genre” is an ever-growing playlist, a massive catalogue of songs and artists that represent the evolution and integration of jazz into other genres. It’s a way to discover artists that are adaptable to change and go beyond the categories of genre. I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed creating it! 


Listen to Beyond Genre here: