It’s been a phenomenal year for local music and as the year comes to a close, it’s the perfect time to reflect on what has been a phenomenal past 12 months. In that time, South African music (across all genres) has proven to be ground-breaking and the quality of music produced in that space of time has been world-class. As the year comes to a close, we’ve picked our 10 favourite local tracks of 2017.
10) Mi Casa – Nana
With every album, Mi Casa has proven that they’re an incredible dance act but with their new album ‘Familia’, the group stepped away from the house sound that dominated their career and took traditional latin sounds and put their own unique spin on it. ‘Nana’, however, found a balance and was a great single to lead fans into the new sound they experimented with. J’Something (who also had a massive year) gave another smooth vocal performance and the excellent writing paired with the familiar production and vocal performance helped ‘Nana’ become one of the most-played local songs this year.
9) Craig Lucas – Smother
He wowed audiences on the second season of The Voice South Africa and after ultimately winning the show, Craig Lucas dropped his debut studio album. The record’s second single is a powerful pop banger named ‘Smother’ and has perfectly introduced the country to the star’s phenomenal talent. The songwriting is fantastic and the dark pop production elevates the song and message to a magical place. But, it’s Craig’s phenomenal vocal that really makes the song. His debut album was also one of the best albums of 2017 and I have a feeling he has a major career on his hands.
8) Goodluck – The Open Sea
Goodluck knows how to make phenomenal dance music. The three-piece dance act from Cape Town are still promoting their 2016 release ‘The Nature Within’ and released album highlight ‘The Open Sea’, their collaboration with YOUNOTUS, as a single earlier this year. The song almost encompasses who Goodluck is as an act. From breezy sonic elements to hard dance beats, the tropical house track had all the necessary ingredients to be a radio smash.
7) AKA & Anatii – Don’t Forget To Pray
AKA and Anatii delivered their incredible collaborative record ‘Be Careful What You Wish For’ earlier this year to rave reviews and the standout single, in my opinion, has to be the massive hit ‘Don’t Forget To Pray’. What made this song really special is how the two rappers bounced off each other. Their chemistry is incredible and with a slick production, excellent song-writing and an incredibly catchy hook, the song will stay one of their greatest singles to date.
6) DJ Maphorisa – Midnight Starring (Feat. DJ Tira, Busiswa and Moonchild Sanelly)
Gqom has become a countrywide phenomenon over the past two years and the world is taking notice. DJ Maphorisa has proved to be at the forefront of the genre and his hit single ‘Midnight Starring’ has broken international boundaries. Alicia Keys recently posted a video of her kids jamming out to the song and cheerleaders at an NBA game were also seen to do a routine to the track. Everything about the party anthem works. Busiswa and Moonchild deliver phenomenal vocal performances and the chemistry between each act on the track is fire. The track encompasses the South African spirit in such a unique way which is why it became such a success.
5) Brendan Peyper – Hy Loop Oop
Afrikaans music also had a fantastic year but Brendan Peyper dominated the charts with the title track of his second studio album ‘Hy Loop Oop’. The song was special because it blends the country elements which are so popular within the genre with various pop sounds to create a fresh, current single. The Tropika Island Of Treasure contestant created the perfect pop track which will please audiences both young and old which is why he finds himself at number five on this year’s Top 10!
4) Black Motion – Imali
There’s no doubt that dance music is one of the biggest genres in South Africa today and Black Motion is an act which kills it with every single release. However, even they didn’t expect just how big ‘Imali’ would become. The song became a massive club and radio hit thanks to it’s smooth production and powerful vocal delivery from Nokwazi. The song was heard everywhere and took the group to a level they haven’t experienced before. The duo isn’t afraid to experiment and crafted the perfect African house track which is why they’re sitting comfortably on our year-end chart.
3) DJ Ganyani & Goodluck – Fading
One thing we love seeing is experimentation between popular South African artists so when we initially heard that DJ Ganyani and Goodluck would be releasing a song together, we knew it would be interesting. But, even we didn’t expect the fire that they brought to life. The song is easily one of the greatest crossover tracks released this year. DJ Ganyani is the king of afro-house while GOODLUCK continue their winning streak as one of the greatest electronic acts to come out of South Africa. I love how both acts have pushed themselves creatively on this track. They have both stepped outside of their comfort zone and the risk certainly paid off.
2) Lady Zamar – Love Is Blind
If there’s one artist who really impressed me this year, it’s Lady Zamar. Not since Bucie has a female house vocalist added such flair and diversity to the local house space. 2017 was a massive year for the house vocalist. She released her debut solo album and released a string of radio hits that were new, exciting and different. ‘Love Is Blind’ started the process and will forever go down as one of the star’s greatest hits yet. Lady Zamar effortlessly blends house, pop and African elements together to create a massive crossover track. The star has a unique voice and the composition of the song is both exciting and different. Lady Zamar has cemented her place as one of the greatest house vocalists in the country this year and we’re expecting an even bigger 2018 from the star. Oh, and a special shout out goes to her new single ‘Collide’ which we expect will become an even bigger radio phenomenon over the next few weeks.
1) Shekhinah – Suited
There’s absolutely no question that the biggest song out of South Africa in 2017 is Shekhinah’s ‘Suited’. The song broke boundaries and quickly became the star’s biggest single to date. The song had every ingredient needed for it to become a hit. The production is insane, the melody stands out and Shekhinah gives a solid vocal performance. However, it’s in the song-writing where the song shines. The love song has a great amount of depth in its lyrical content but is still catchy enough to be a radio-friendly pop song. The track solidified Shekhinah’s status as a pop powerhouse and will go down in history as one of the best pop tracks to ever come out of Mzansi.