Behind every vocal is a producer’s quintessential charm; the chemistry between a producer and an artiste distills their qualities and inventive touch, crafting cohesive records. Producers can make or break a career, and for a vast part of 2022, the producers in this article showed their worth, most fashionably, through the Larynx of some of Africa’s finest artists. iMullar looks at some of the producers that crafted some of the brightest hits in 2022, highlighting the year with their work.
The South African DJ/Producer has been holding the fort for South African house music for 26 years, moulding a successful career with a Grammy award for his 2021 album. His latest achievement was being an executive producer for Drake’s seventh studio Album, “Honestly Nevermind”, a house-inspired project. The 46-year-old smeared his influence all over the album, producing “Texts Go Green,” “Currents,” and “Overdrive.” He extends the blessings unto his biological son, who notched a production/writer credit. In an era where Afrobeats is heavily consumed, Black Coffee proves that Afrobeats isn’t the only genre from Africa.
The Grammy-nominated producer has turned himself into an Afrobeats powerhouse over the last few years, dashing out numerous hits thanks to his skills which have helped further the Afrobeats evolution through a grassroots aesthetic and modern approach, making his can an open one for culture worms. With a well-known tag (OBAH!), you know it’s a hit, records like Adekunle’s “Okay” & Kizz Daniel’s “Buga” are just a few to mention from his catalog, with the latest being Chris Brown & Wiz Kid’s duet “Call Me Everyday”.
At Afrobeat’s highest peak, an artiste is writing his story on his terms with the help of his producer’s ink. Asake’s global run is solely fuelled by Magicsticks, whose trademark evokes the psychedelic funk of Asake’s style, elements of Fúji, and “Afropiano”, a sub-genre that runs through all of Asake’s records, all at the expense of the magician’s stick. All 12 songs on Asake’s debut album, which debuted at number 66 on Billboard’s Hot 200 albums, making it the highest charting debut Nigerian album of all time on the Billboard, were produced by Magicsticks, with anthems like “Sungba”, “Terminator” and “PBUY” all leading the takeover.
Pro2Jay, also known as P2J, is a Nigerian, London-based Grammy award-winning producer whose theme drowns in afro-pop, afro-house, afro-rap, and afro-jazz. He is basically the go-to guy if you want to merge your sound with Afroism, the producer has worked with tons of artists, and with the smash hit “Essence” to his name, he continues the run on Wizkid’s latest album “More Love, Less Ego”. crafting 11 out of 13 songs. He also worked with Beyonce on her “Renaissance” album & Stormzy’s album.
From a car guide to the charts-topping artiste, Tresor Riziki has worked his way up silently as one of Congo’s exciting producers/vocalist, leaning on heavy Southern elements, a trait in his production skills, he produced and co-wrote “Fountains” for Drake’s 2021 album Certified Lover Boy”. Prior to that, his effect on the Scorpion Kings album caught the attention of Drake, enlisting him to work on his house album later. He is credited as a vocalist on three songs and worked on six more songs, leaving his imprint on the album that debuted at no.1 on Billboard 200. He also collaborated with Luxury Swiss watch manufacturer Audemars Piguet, working with Swiss producer OZ for a campaign song in AP’s name.
Alumni of The Sarz Academy, the 20-year-old producer has been moving at an unreal pace, making himself the most in-demand afrobeats producer right now. Having produced seven songs out of twelve for Olamide’s “Carpe Diem” whiles just eighteen years old, he has stacked his discography with some of the finest jams. from Olamide’s “Loading” to Fireboy’s “Bandana” and Wizkid’s latest “Pressure”, the grammy award-nominated producer is just getting started, producing seven songs on Asa’s “V” album. It’s safe to say the future of Afrobeats is in safe hands.
Black Sherif’s breakout single had everyone thinking Drill was his main genre, but the wonder kid seemed to have gone soul searching, experimenting on his sounds. With the help of fellow friend/producer Joker, he has morphed himself into one of Ghana’s best-diversified prospects. The Ghanaian producer has crystallized the sonic footprint for Blacko, allowing his raw story-telling and emotions to soar in his production. “Kweku The Traveller” was once the most shazamed song in the world, landing atop the Nigeria Apple Music charts. Their link-up birthed another global hit, “Soja”, defying the rules in an Afro era with conscious records. Their chemistry allowed them to create six songs for Blacko’s debut album and a slot on Empire’s group project.
On a well-fleshed roster, Mavin producer London has equally served all the artists he has worked with, foreseeing Rema’s debut album, where he worked on fourteen songs, including “Calm down”. The album debuted at number one in fifteen countries. Known to be distinctive with his work, the grammy nominated producer has worked with Wizkid, Chris Brown, and Selena Gomez and produced a record on the Black Panther 2 OT.
Under Burna Boy’s wings, the Grammy-winning producer’s skill has seen it all. He also keeps all the audaciousness of a youthful lifestyle in his craft, from making Trap beats to some of the best Afro sounds. Telz has grown into a super producer, jams like Patoranking’s “Abule” to “Onyeka”, there are more to come from him, especially with “Love, Damini” up for a grammy, a project where he produced two songs.
The duo has released over six projects in less than three years. DJ Maphorisa & Kabza de small have been on an incredible run. With how calculated Amapiano seems to be, the duo never seem to run out of ideas. Their run extends on the Live version of their latest album, producing energetic songs throughout with the help of Tresor, Focalistic and more. Songs like “London” and “Ba Straata” are instant club bangers.