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Spotify's 'Carpool Karaoke' wannabe? Meet 'Traffic Jams'

The new Spotify video series sticks an MC in a car with a hip-hop producer to create a new song en route to a live show where they'll perform it.

Spotify's take on "Carpool Karaoke" gets two hip-hop artists stuck in traffic and makes them write beats that get stuck in your head.

With a new video series called "Traffic Jams" kicking off Tuesday, Spotify will run weekly episodes that pair a rapper with a producer, putting them in the back seat of a car to create a new song while driving to a gig where they'll perform it live.

Like, the SUV literally drives up to a stage surrounded by hip-hop fans, and the two get handed mics as soon as they get out of the car.

It's the latest video maneuver by a streaming-music service hoping that original programming gives it an edge to dominate the growing market for music subscriptions. Spotify's biggest rival, Apple Music, has already promised a slate of original shows, including a spinoff of the viral "Carpool Karaoke," which -- totally by coincidence, I'm sure -- also throws a megastar artist into Los Angeles traffic for our entertainment.


Rapper T-Pain and producer Southside write a song in the back of a car driving to a show to perform it in Spotify's video series "Traffic Jams."


"Carpool Karaoke," a recurring segment from "The Late Late Show with James Corden," was the top trending video on all of YouTube last year, according to the Google-owned video site. (Disclosure: Cordon's show airs on CBS, CNET's parent company.)

Spotify, however, has a leg up in the race for members. Its 50 million subscribers lap Apple Music's 20 million plus. "Traffic Jams" isn't Spotify's first foray into original video. Last year, the streaming service ran an election-themed series called "Clarify," and it has offered up other programs like "Drawn & Recorded" and "Landmark: Metallica."

"Traffic Jams" is being made in partnership with All Def Digital, a media company founded by hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons. The premiere episodes matches rapper T-Pain with producer Southside in an 18-minute episode, hosted by comedian DoBoy, also known as Fat Drake.

"It has improvisation, it has performances, and I'm pretty sure it will spawn a few new hits too," Simmons said in a statement. "Spotify is the perfect platform for it."

On Spotify's mobile app, the series will live under the Browse tab in "videos." On the desktop application, it will be under Browse in Genres & Moods and the Video Series.

The eight-episode "Traffic Jam" line-up includes:

  • April 4 - T-Pain & Southside
  • April 11 - D.R.A.M. & MeLo-X
  • April 18 - Joey Bada$$ & Cardo
  • April 25 - Pell & !llmind
  • May 2 - Jidenna & Sonny Digital
  • May 9- Madeintyo & AarabMuzik
  • May 16 - Dae Dae & Marvel Alexander
  • May 23 - E-40 & Willie B

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