South African hip-hop producers are getting younger with every year that passes, while the genre continues to grow. Below is a list of some new young producers who have produced big hip-hop singles like Riky Rick’s “Sidl’ ukotini”, Stogie T’s “By Any Means”, A-Reece’s “Zimbali”, Nasty C’s “Juice Back”, DJ Vigi and Cassper Nyovest’s “Ayeye”. In no particular order.
1. Gemini Major
In the past two years, he has risen to be among the elite of South African hip-hop. The Angolan-born producer and rapper is signed to Cassper Nyovest’s Family Tree. Gemini Major co-produced “Sidl’ ukotini” with Tweezy and Co Kayn Beats last year. He also produced one of the biggest hip-hop songs of 2016, the addictive “Mayo” by DJ Speedsta. He has also lent his ragga vocals on songs by the likes of Tshego (“Hennessy”), Reason (“All The Time”), and he is the guy behind Nasty C’s breakout single “Juice Back”. Also, what was 2016 without his own hit single “Ragga Ragga”? Phew! And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Need we say more?
2. The Gobbla
The Gobbla has been around since around 2014 as an electronic music producer, releasing his own music. He recently performed at Ultra Festival. But the man’s versatility saw him producing three songs on Nasty C’s Bad Hair album. “Overload” featuring Tellaman is a mellow emo joint, while “Good Girls and Snapchat Hoes” is a club banger with a catchy rhythm. “Vent” is a head-bobbing hip-hop song, one of the standout tracks on the album. His latest production for the Durban Nasty C is the aggressive bass-heavy “Verge”.
3. Wichi 1080
What would Priddy Ugly be without the ice-cold production of Wichi 1080? Those eardrum-wracking basslines and airy pads give the rapper’s voice an atmosphere to roam as he does those lyrical gymnasts. Wichi 1080’s production is heavily influenced by trap, but you can’t necessarily call it trap. He’s probably the most innovative producer in South Africa at the moment. His sound is hard to describe, but a listen to Priddy Ugly’s You Don’t Know Me Yet EP, which Wichi 1080 produced and it will give you a clue. He also produced most of KLY’s trapsoul EP, KLYmax. He has also made bangers for Rogue (“Sheba Ngwan O”), Refi Sings and Shelton Forbes. A beast of note.
4. Psyc’ AK
When Uno July went solo, he roped in Psyc’ AK for the successful single “Skelem”. The bassline on “Skelem” is the meaning of life. Then there’s the 8-beat synth that gives the song an 80s arcade twist. Psyc’ AK hasn’t looked back ever since. He has released instrumental projects that showcase his other production styles. His recent accolade is appearing on Patty Monroe’s Malatjie album. Psyc’ AK also has his solo singles like “The Code” and “Send Location” which will feature in his upcoming album Does it Bump in the Whip?.
5. Co Kayn Beats
Co Kayn Beats, real name Cayenne Mudimeli, co-produced one of the biggest hip-hop songs of 2016, the anthemic “Sidl’ ukotini” by Riky Rick. Always rolling with the big dawgs, he also co-produced five songs on Stogie T’s self-titled album, “By Any Means”, “Miss Joburg”, “Chairman of the Board”, “Pray for Us” and “Clean Stuff”. His production credits extend to the likes of Stilo Magolide (“Gawd Level”, “Delusion”) and B3nchmarQ (“Janga”). One thing that ties the man’s production is how he gets his bass and 808s to bang the way they do.
Mashbeatz, formally known as the 808 God in Giyani, is behind A-Reece’s hit singles “Zimbali” and “Sebenza”. He produced a large portion of the former Ambitiouz Ent signee’s debut album Paradise. Saudi’s latest single “She Loves Me” is also the work of Mashbeatz. So is “Ugesi” by Miss Pru DJ, and Kid X’s “Dipolotiki” off his debut album 3 Quarter Pace. Add the likes of Kwesta, Riky Rick, Cassper Nyovest on that resume, and you have one of the most solid producer portfolios by a 23-year-old. Cassper Nyovest also used MashBeatz’ beat for his Freestyle on Tim WestWood TV last year.
7. YoMaika Beats
YoMaika Beats, pronounced “your maker beats”, is a producer duo consisting of Dowpe and KTStheDJ, who are both 21. They worked on Maraza’s breakout single, and one of the biggest songs last year, “Gwan”. We haven’t heard many other high profile productions from Yomaika Beats, but we are certain, after the success of “Gwan”, it won’t be long. Our eardrums are still trying to recover from that bassline, though.
8. Psyko Beats
Psyko Beats essentially makes trap beats. Last year was great for the Zimbabwean-born producer – he co-produced DJ Vigilante and Cassper Nyovest’s “Ayeye”, produced YoungstaCPT’s “Own 2016”. He also co-produced B3nchmarq’s “Bonang” alongside Tweezy. He has also done some work with E-Jay, Phresh Clique and a few more. With trap being the incumbent sound in hip-hop, Psyko Beats can only grow more in 2017.
AirDee is one of the silent pioneers of the skhanda sound, producing one of the biggest hits from the Cashtime Life camp, DJ Vigi’s “Sorry Makhe”. His sound is also diverse – he produced non-skhanda bangers like iFani’s strident “Milli”, Nadia Nakai’s “Whatever” and DJ Capital’s “Imma Tell Her”, among others.
Story by Nhlawulo Chauke and Aziwe Rayi
Feature image of Psyc’ AK by Sabelo Mkhabela
Who did we leave out? Let us know in the comments section, below.