One Spotify's most influential playlist curators has left the building. The company announced on Thursday that Tuma Basa, the global programming head hip-hop whose RapCar playlist has amassed nearly 9 million followers, has decided to leave the company.
“Tuma has been an incredible asset to the RapCar team, and we thank him for his contributions,” the company said in a statement. “The RapCar team, which is rapidly expanding with boots on the ground globally, is committed to building the brand and giving its users the best hip hop experience on the platform.”
The circumstances for Basa's sudden departure, as well as his future plans, were not disclosed. Spotify paired the news Basa's exit with an announcement new tour dates for its “RapCar Live” tour. The company also said it will be expanding the RapCar brand globally to include local curators “in an effort to highlight the power different genres within the hip hop landscape.”
Basa, a former programmer for Revolt, MTV and BET, joined Spotify in the spring 2015. As custodian Spotify's top genre-specific playlist (Today's Top Hits has 19 million followers, but covers more ground), Basa and his team have played an outsized role in helping to break new artists, including Desiigner and Cardi B, but he has bristled at the “gatekeeper” label ten assigned to curators.
“I don’t want to be called that,” he told Billboard last year. “I feel like the gatekeeper era is over. The gatekeeper era is the past, when magazine editors, A&Rs, program directors, they all could determine people’s lives and everything. I consider myself a facilitator. My job is not a bouncer to keep people out or to kick people out, it’s to get people in. It’s to get the right people in and to keep the party popping.”
Basa's exit comes a day after Spotify ficially filed paperwork for a public fering with the Security and Exchanges Commission on Wednesday. The music streaming service will trade under the symbol “SPOT” at the New York Stock Exchange.