South Africa is one of the biggest producers and consumers of house music. Behind this mega industry are even bigger talents, who have contributed a lot to the local house music scene and taken our music to the global stage. These are, in my opinion, the best five house DJs in South Africa, based on the success they have achieved and the value they have added to house music.
1. Black Coffee
What makes Black Coffee great is that he’s always trying something new. “Musical experimentation and its power to bring people together is why I do what I do,” he told Sunday World on October 10, when he was interviewed about his latest work – Black Coffee’s Human Orchestra. It’s a film about his collaboration with a group of 40 vocalists from across Africa to recreate one of his famous music productions, Rock My World. Black Coffee has had a plethora of hits since he graduated from the Red Bull Music Academy in 2003. By 2005, he had launched his record label Soulistic Records. He then released a series of successful albums namely Black Coffee (2005), Have Another One (2007) and Home Brewed (2009). In 2011, he was nominated for an MTV Europe Award in the Best African Act category. In the same year, he launched his annual Africa Rising event, where he performs his songs accompanied by a 24-piece orchestra.
2. DJ Tira
DJ Tira became a household name in house music within four years of setting foot in the music industry. He scooped a Metro FM Award for Best Compilation Album in both 2004 and 2005. He released his first CD Real Makoya in 2001, a house compilation he co-produced with DJ Khabzela. In 2007, Tira opened Afrotainment, which went on to be home to the likes of Big Nuz, DJ Cndo, Durban’s Finest, Afro Soul and an array of other artists. The album DJ Tira produced for Big Nuz 2nd Round Knockout won three SAMAs in 2010: Best Kwaito Album, Best Album and Song of the Year for their hit “Umlilo”.
3. DJ Shimza
He’s known as “the master of mixing” because of his killer sound effect skills. He earned his respect in the house music industry when he won the Red Square DJ competition, a life-changing opportunity for any young aspiring DJ. Every year since 2011, he hosts DJ Shimza’s One Man Show in his hometown Tembisa in Gauteng on Christmas Day. The event kicks off with orphans from around Tembisa served with a proper lunch and also given gifts from Shimza and sponsors. After this, Shimza plays for the whole night for round two of the event. He has also performed in some of the country’s big concerts, such as Spring Fiesta, Oh Ship and YFM gigs, alongside big names like DJ Fresh, Oskido and others. Like many of the greats mentioned here, DJ Shimza has his own company, Shimzic Productions, and also features on Oskido’s show, called I Believe on Metro FM every Friday from 3 to 6pm.
4. DJ Euphonik
His stage name means “a pleasant sound” and that’s what he’s created for his fans. The demand for Euphonik’s music has seen him travel throughout the SADC region, as well as Miami, The UK and Dubai. In 2009, he featured on The Mail & Guardian’s Top 300 Young South Africans. In 2004, Euphonik started working at YFM and his great mixes got him a slot on 5FM’s Fresh Drive. Soon he was given his own show. My House which airs on Sundays at 7pm, sees the DJ bringing house music to life in an electrifying three hours. He also uses that opportunity to give advice to upcoming DJs. DJ Euphonik also has an impressive discography: Soul Candi Sessions 3 (2006), Kentphonik (a collaborative album by himand DJ Kent released in 2007) and For the Love of House (2008) among others. He is currently busy shooting a video for “Love High” – a song he did with vocalist Mpumi late last year.
5. DJ Oskido (Oscar Warona)
Oskido is a legend whose significant contribution to the SA house scene cannot be ignored. He was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s Metro FM Music Awards. Oskido is the founder of Kalawa Jazmee Records, and has overseen the rise of some of the best South African artists; Bongo Maffin, Alaska, and DJ Fresh among many. Oskido began his radio career in 1997 at YFM, and later moved to Metro FM where he still hosts a show called I Believe every Friday from 3 to 6pm. From 2001 up until 2010, Oskido has released a series of his Church Grooves albums, from Volume 1 to 10. In 2012, Oscar released what I would say is his most progressive album – judging from its stardom locally and abroad – Oskido I Believe 2013 which became an instant hit throughout the country as the album reached gold status (20 000 units sold) within the same year of its release.
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