The South African house scene is growing at an alarming and equally pleasing rate. We’ve steadily risen to become a force to be reckoned with and a music authority in our own right. Of course, this wouldn’t have been possible without the musical expertise and magic fingers of a several key individuals. These local maestros have played a quintessential role in the South African house scene and without them we almost certainly wouldn’t have reached the dizzying heights the genre has ascended to.
10. Da Capo
Easily one of the youngest producers on the list and undoubtedly one of the most talented. Born Nicodimas Sekheta Mogashoa, Da Capo has been serving tantalizingly soulful music to the house starved for over three years now. His remixes are more sought after than gold and he is certainly working his way up to being one of the biggest names in house. His biggest hits include the remix of Cosmic Gate’s “Over The Rainbow”, Ralf Gum’s “Linda” and the infectious “African Sax” by Brazo Wa Afrika.
9. Heavy K
Proudly repping the Eastern Cape, Heavy K started out as an integral member of house outfit, Point 5. Now the young man is flying solo and soaring at dizzy heights to! Although he is barely in his twenties, his list of hits read like a page taken straight out of the book of veterans. From producing hits for the likes of Professor, to remixing Oskido’s “Shela”, Heavy K has proved that he can go head to head with the production heavyweights and still hold his own.
8. DJ Cleo
One of South Africa’s most revered DJs and undeniably gifted, it’s DJ Cleo! With over 10years experience and nine albums under his belt, the award winning Cleo is one of South Africa’s best producers. His musical hand has been the guiding force behind massive stars like Pitch Black Afro and Bricks. Cleo’s latest offering is Eskhaleni 9, a double disc that offers both soulful mature house and his trademark dancefloor filling tunes. Cleo would certainly be higher up on the list but a series of hit and miss productions have left a dent on his otherwise impeccable career.
7. Zakes Bantwini
Widely regarded as one of the best live performers of our time, Zakes Bantwini not only thrills on stage but behind the sound-desk as well. Before his name was up in bright lights, Zakes produced for the likes of L’Vovo Derango and has also worked closely with his good friend Black Coffee. The “Wasting My Time” hit maker is also a gifted songwriter and penned the 2009 anthem “La La La” by DJ Sndara. Zakes is currently riding the wave of his latest single “Ifunaya” featuring J. Martins from Nigeria.
6. Culoe De Song
The Prince of Ancestral House. From his first release, Culoe hit the ground running and hasn’t looked back since. The Red Bull Music Academy graduate first captured the ears and souls of the house fraternity with his hauntingly beautiful “The Bright Forest”. From that point on and under the tutelage of Black Coffee, Culoe has released two studio albums, numerous remixes and is currently working on his forthcoming offering Exodus.
5. Dr. Duda
The younger generation may only identify Dr. Duda with the house trio Mi Casa but Duda has actually been around since the beginning of South African house. Before the success with Mi Casa threw his name into the spotlight, Duda was quietly cooking up hits with his partner in crime, Dr. M-Bee. Classic house albums and compilations like the Soul Candi Sessions would be incomplete without the inclusion of Duda’s gems “Thola” and “Change The World”. Alongside being the heart of Mi Casa, Dr. Duda is also an in-house producer at Soul Candi Records.
It’s near impossible to search any top urban chart and not find a production by Maphorisa, Clap and Xelimpilo, otherwise known as Uhuru. The trio has been instrumental in the return of Mafikizolo as well as breathing new life into the Kalawa Jazzme label. The Uhuru sound has ushered in a new era in the local dance scene and is appreciated as far as Nigeria and Angola.
3. Black Motion
When Oskido first introduced Black Motion and their breakthrough single, “Banane Movoko,” it was clear that the two young men had ignited fire to something phenomenal. Not only did their single become the staple diet for party goers the world over, their mesmerizing stage presences and performance skills saw them quickly shooting to the top of the most wanted DJs list. The duo has been on the scene for little over two years and is already on their second studio album. There is no denying that the drums of Black Motion will continue to resonate for years to come.
2. Black Coffee
The man who needs little introduction. The “Superman” who cast his “Juju” on the world so we can “Arise & Shine”! It’s none other than Black Coffee! A testament to how hard and smart work pays off, Black Coffee is undoubtedly the biggest DJ in South Africa by a long mile. After carving his unique blend of authentic African percussion, soulful melodies complemented by thoughtful lyrics and beautiful vocals, it didn’t take long before Black Coffee’s sounds became synonymous with quality South African house. He is certainly one of the best to ever do it.
1. DJ Kent
DJ Kent’s career started out with his partnering with DJ Euphonik to form the iconic Kentphonic. After the two DJs went their separate ways, Kent then set out to forge his own musical brand. Not only did he become the pioneering force behind the art of mega-mixing, Kent also released countless hits and is currently enjoying the success of a certified Gold album, ‘The Weekent,’ and his current radio hit “Spin My World” featuring The Arrows. His massive crossover appeal, steady growth and unmatched creativity earns him the number one spot on our list.