For a very long time, artists have been on the limelight for delivering amazing music to the audiences and most of the time they take all the glory for a well done song. What most people do not know is that the art of making a perfect song includes a whole team and the artist is often the last piece of the puzzle to make sure things fall in place. Producers are the unsung heroes that deliver masterpieces as they ensure everything flows perfectly according to their vision; from the beats, songwriting, engineering and eventually the releasing of the song. It’s not until recently that people have started paying close attention to producers and identifying their signature sounds, although they are yet to fully receive their flowers fully here in Africa. Here are our top three picks for some of the best producers currently making major moves in shaping and advancing the African sound globally.
Born Osabuohien Osaretin, Sarz is a Nigerian based producer and hit maker. Having worked alongside major African acts like WizKid, Goldie Harvey, Skales and Niniola, among many others, Sarz is one of the major influential producers of West Africa that has helped in the development of the Afro Beat sound. His music style is majorly afro beats, hip hop, pop and contemporary RnB and has plenty of hits under his belt including “Dance for Me” by Wizkid, “Anything” by Tekno, “Come Closer” by Wizkid and Drake, “Bad Energy” by Skepta and WizKid among many other countless hits. He has been nominated for numerous awards in his fourteen year career and has won plenty including “Music Producer of the Year” at the Dynamix and City People Awards back in 2012. Being a singer and songwriter himself, his works are highly emulated by various artists across the globe. His beats are chilled and laidback and have a funky feel to them and has mastered the art of fusing various genres like Uk drill with afrobeats to create beautiful pieces.
Themba sonnyboy, Dj Maphorisa
DJ Maphorisa is a South African based hit record producer known for his crucial role in producing one of the continent’s biggest hit, “Particular” in collaboration with Major Lazer, Nasty C, PatoRanking, Ice Prince and Jidenna. He has worked alongside some of the biggest international artists including Drake, Wizkid, Major Lazer, Jidenna, Runtown, Kwesta among several others. The South African producer is currently signed to his record label BlaqBoy Music where he continues to release bangers. Some of the major hit songs that he has produced include “One Dance” by Wizkid, Drake and Kyla, “Ngud” by Kwesta ft Cassper Nyovest, “Khona” by Mafikizolo and “Y-tjukutja” by Oskido, Professor and Uri-Da-Cunha. There is no specific genre to confide the great DJ in as his prowess transcends from Kwaito and Amapiano to Hip Hop and even RnB. He has released plenty of singles and albums by himself too and his latest EP, Banyana, was released in 2021 and is doing well on the African charts.
Iraju Hamisi Mjege better known by his popular tag ‘Lizer Classic’ is a Tanzanian based producer known for being part of the major hit songs released from Tanzania. Many know him from his tag line ‘Ayo Lizer’ said at the beginning of nearly every Wasafi Records track. Starting his career slightly over 10 years ago in Burundi, Hamisi has slowly risen the ranks in music to become one of the most recognizable producers in Africa producing tracks for some of the major African acts like Diamond, Rayvanny, Mbosso, Harmonize and others from wasafi records. His prowess led him to work on Coke Studio Africa season 6 and has been nominated and won several awards. Some of the major hits accredited to his name include “Tetema”, “Sikomi”, “Zilipendwa”, “Kwangwaru” among several others released from Wasafi artists. He has played an important role in shaping Tanzania’s position musically as one of the biggest countries with its signature bongo sound.
In summary, Africa is blessed with highly sort after producers who are playing a crucial role in enhancing the African sound globally and as such should be appreciated while still alive.