So I’ve recently found myself in the position of makeshift DJ on several occasions (at work, at a house party and on many long distance road trips). In each scenario, upbeat music is needed to keep you and others going. As a result, I decided to always be prepared, creating countless playlists from different genres on Spotify. I hope that overtime I can share some of my favourites on here and discover some of yours too.
To kick things off, here’s my best of South African House Music which is currently my favourite genre of them all. Enjoy!
1. African Woman – DJ Shimza, Mishka
Despite being released in 2015, this is still one of the biggest songs on the African continent. I love how it jumps straight into the beat without an unnecessarily long intro. Simple tune, effectively executed.. Check it out!
2. City Rain – Mobi Dixon
Great great tune to work to. As it’s so elegantly repetitive (in a good way), it’s guaranteed to get your toes tapping at your desk as you help solve the worlds problems. Also great for those long summer road trips ahead.
3. Easy to Love – Bucie, Heavy K
The build up in the intro to this song is incredible and always gets me going in anticipation for the drop (video cuts it short). Add to this Bucie’s incredible vocal range and Heavy K’s skillful tinkering on the dials of his DJ set and you have another awesome collaboration.
4. Sweet Love – Euphonik (Spotify)
Sadly not on YouTube, but definitely worth a listen on iTunes or Spotify. Euphonik is one of my favourite newly discovered DJ’s in S.A house and continues to deliver in his songs. This is one of my favourites of his.
5. Tulale Fofofo – Mi Casa, Sauti Sol
If you’re looking to discover just one new artist from this list, may I suggest Mi Casa. I’ve listened to each one of this trio’s entire albums and I’m still amazed at the consistent brilliance of every single track. Astonishing! This is just one of them..
6. Bayethe – DJ Shimza, BK
Slightly more chilled tune, but still upbeat, groovy and funky. I love the simplicity of the beat which gets subtly phased out in parts before being brought back with a bang. Love it!
7. We Own The Night – Mi Casa
I love Mi Casa. Quite possibly my most overplayed group on spotify this year. This talented trio perfectly blend together the skills of Pianist and Producer (Dr Duda), Vocalist and Guitarist (J’Something) and Trumpeter (Mo-T). This ones a BANGER!
8. Feel The Love – Mi Casa
Another Mi Casa hit. Along with its well polished music video and uplifting story line (loving your neighbour), this song is simply incredible. Even after a year or more of listening to it, I still can’t get enough. Those vocals, that trumpet, and my goodness the beat.. Immaculate.
9. Pluto (Remember You) – DJ Clock, Beatenberg
Such a happy song and music video. I’ve tried in vain to listen to this song without moving; impossible. DJ Clock is another big name to look out for in the ‘SA house’ scene and here serves up another head-bopper.
10. Love Colour Spin – Mobi Dixon
It takes about a minute before the song really kicks in but when it does, it’s one of the best motivational tracks on this list. So so groovy. I just wanted it to keep on going in its harmonious, repetitive brilliance. I even caught my work colleague tapping their foot to it as I played it on the office speaker. #winning
11. I Want Your Love (Joat Remix) – Donae’o
Not entirely sure if this counts as SA House, maybe more funky house or general house. Donae’o is a Londoner with Ghanaian/Caribbean routes. But none the less, this has many elements that fit so perfectly to this list. Upbeat, motivational, afro-house, head-banger. What more could you want? Check it out.
12. Wena – Heavy K, Mpumi
This is the sort of song that I imagine everyone at a house party, young and old, would get up to dance to. So so groovy. I love the intentional pauses in the beat which only help reinforce the groovyness (if that’s even a word?).
13. Deadly Strings – Emo Kid
Starts off rather slowly but gradually builds to an absolute banger. I particularly like the addition of guitar strings, which I imagine the songs name hails from. And then there’s the beat and baseline. Another one of those you can blissfully nod time away to.
14. Apologies – Euphonik, Luke M, Thoko
‘Sweet Love’ (listed above) used to be my favourite track by Euphonik till I discovered this gem. Wow!! What a find. From vocals to strings, bass to drums, every single element is an absolute acoustic masterclass. No exaggeration!
15. Don’t Give Up – Prince Kaybee
The song does exactly what the lyrics say: “Keep on working, keep on going, keep on moving, keep on grinding..” It’s so emblematic of the type of rhythmic afro-beat sound that this energetic song represents. Not gonna lie, but late nights working on design projects have been made a lot easier with this tune in my life.
16. Wajellwa – Prince Kaybee
Incredible acoustic vibes coming to you from the South. This is the Africa I know – full of rhythm, groove, creativity and happiness. If, like me, you’re into guitar strings being expertly plucked at breakneck speed over an undeniably groovy beat, then this tracks definitely for you.
17. Charlotte – Prince Kaybee
Another one of those ‘why are you not more popular’ artists that I’ve only recently discovered. I know I’ve used the phrase ‘groovy’ a lot, but I can’t think of a better synonym to describe how good this song is. Have a listen for yourself. Tell me if you think otherwise.
18. Better Days – Prince Kaybee, Audrey
Another slow build-up to begin with, but this tune steadily builds and grows on you. There seems to be a clever mix of free-styling or experimentation of instruments and vocals over the master-beat, which I love. Almost organised spontaneity. It gives it a raw, ever changing feel that not a lot of other more regimented songs have.
19. Friend Zone – Prince Kaybee, Ziyon
This song is a lot more chilled and slow compared to many others on this list. It still manages to keep all the good vibes of an S.A house track with its top notch Afro-beat rhythm. I picture myself sat out in the sun sipping on coke whilst enjoying the finest delicacies of a South African braai (barbecue).
20. Chasing The Sun – Mi Casa
This blog post could quite easily have been a list of my favourite Mi Casa tracks (although that does give me an idea!). Instead, I’ve tried to narrow down some of my favourites from their vast collection of hits. I love this song and would highly recommend listening to their albums.
21. Jika – Mi Casa
The song that first introduced me to Mi Casa, and what an introduction it was. Rhythmic, energetic and exciting. A guaranteed party banger that will keep you jiving. Not to mention it was the “most played song for 12 straight weeks on several radio stations across South Africa” (wiki). It also peaked at number 1 on the UK’s BBC 1 Xtra charts, MTV Base’s S.A top 10 and Trace TV’s 30 Urban Hits. Need I say more..?
22. Heartless Intentions – Black Motion, Dr Moruti
This beat is so sick (in the modern sense of the word). It starts off with such high energy and is gradually added to with fantastic rhythmic and acoustic sounds. Another great one for the road. If you’re into that gym stuff, I’m sure it’s good for that too.
23. In Common (Black Coffee Remix) – Alicia Keys, Black Coffee
When you think of the sweet vocals of Alicia Keys and fuse them with the silky vibes of a world-class DJ like Black Coffee, you know you’re in for a treat. Every bit of that ‘S.A house’ baseline elevates this track to another level in my opinion.
24. Come With Me – Black Coffee
What better way to end this list than with the king of S.A house himself, DJ Black Coffee. This song repeatedly says “You set my world on fire” and Black Coffee [metaphorically] sets house music on fire. This is another big big tune to add to his already extensive collection of club bangers. Well worth the listen.
Apologies if any videos do not work. The original may have been taken down from youtube since posting this.