NATIVE Records Launches Joint Venture Partnership With Def Jam Records

a groundbreaking partnership and heavy win for the culture

These are very exciting times. In a groundbreaking deal, NATIVE Records has entered an exclusive partnership with Def Jam Recordings. This was announced today by Tunji Balogun, the Chairman & CEO of Def Jam Recordings, and Seni ‘Chubbz’ Saraki and Teni ‘Teezee’ Zaccheaus, the co-founders of NATIVE Networks and co-presidents of NATIVE Records.

Under the joint venture deal, NATIVE Record, which operates out of Lagos, Nigeria, and the UK, will sign and develop talent. Saraki, Zaccheaus and the COO of NATIVE Networks Sholz Fagbemi – in collaboration with Balogun, who has had groundbreaking success with artists like WizKid and Tems – will use their proven A&R-sensibilities and extensive expertise and contacts in the creative community to sign and develop talent across the African musical diaspora.

NATIVE Records is the music division of NATIVE Networks (the parent company of this very magazine), a Black-owned and operated, multi-platform, multi-disciplinary media and content company dedicated to the discovery and development of young African artists and youth culture. Founded in 2016 by Seni Saraki, Teni Zaccheaus, Shola Fagbemi, Ademide Edgal and Suleiman Shittu, the NATIVE has consistently broken boundaries and influenced the popularising of new sounds, with special attention to the burgeoning Afropop movement.

In a statement, Balogun described the alliance as “authentic and natural”. He said: “As we build a culture here at Def Jam that connects the best in global black music diaspora – from hip-hop to R&B and 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. Seni, Teni and the Native crew have their fingers on the pulse of what’s truly happening in the scene, as an engine for discovery, and as a hub for creators and artists. I’ve been a fan of their platform, and have been connected to the guys for some time [and] I believe we’re going to discover and develop some amazing talent together.”


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With this new joint venture deal, the NATIVE has once again proven to be on the pulse of pop culture coming out of Africa. Following its debut album ‘NATIVEWORLD’ from DJ collective and A&R supergroup, NATIVE Sound System (NSS) back in August, this first-of-its-kind venture is an extension of an already oiled structure. Speaking about the new partnership, Seni ‘Chubbz’ Saraki and Teni ‘Teezee’ Zaccheaus shared:

“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. 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. [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 and build community. Africa is not a monophonic continent, and we believe this partnership will prove just that.”

Featured image credits/NATIVE