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Top Five Afrobeats Producers

It’s been some time since I wrote an article about afrobeats, but rest assured I do have a good reason, writes DJ Anansi

I’ve been taking a back seat; monitoring how afrobeats is evolving, and it’s been great having that time to pick up on the different sounds and directions the artists have taken the movement.

I’m sat in Ghana as I write this, and have been inspired to write about one key ingredient people seem to take for granted, which is the guys/gals who create the electrifying sounds we’re hearing – the producers!

Too often, the media focus is on the artists (which they deserve). However, it’s really the beats that get us on the dance floor, Azonto-ing and Alanta-ing.

So, here is a shortlist of producers who I believe have transformed (and continue to transform) the sound of afrobeats:

Killbeatz (Ghana): Kiiillllbeeeatz! If you’re an R2bees fan then you’ve definitely heard Mr Killbeatz being referenced in their mega hits. Killbeatz is also the genius behind Fuse ODG’s Azonto, Million Pound Girl and Antenna, as well as having produced hits for Nigerian superstar Wizkid.

Don Jazzy, pictured, (Nigeria): It’s Don Jazzy Again! That is precisely it – he kept doing it again and again, producing all of D’banj’s classic hits we love so much including Oliver Twist. I was gutted when they parted ways as I truly believe D’banj and Don Jazzy were like Timberland and Justin Timberlake or Dr Dre and Eminem – units that just have that winning formula. Don Jazzy is currently producing beats for artists such as Wande Coal, but we hear a D’Banj reunion is on the cards…

Maleek Berry (UK): Although he’d been making music for a while, the first time I heard about Mr Berry was via his big club banger with Wizkid, The Matter. I can see bigger things coming from this producer.

JMJ (Ghana): it’s JMJ baby! Producing hits for Ghana artists such as Mobo award winner Samini (Body Flame) as well as Kaakie (Toffee Pon Tongue), JMJ keeps churning out those hits and I’m loving it.

JOAT  (Jack Of All Trades) (UK): JOAT is a multi-talented collection of producers/engineers/songwriters (etc) and among them are afro beats producers Jae5 and Randy Valentine, who created mega hits for Vibe Squad, Weray Ent just to name a few.

Artists, please big up your producers more so we can also give them props. And afrobeat producers keep doing your thang, we salute you!

Please note the above is just my observation and in no particular order of preference. If there’s a producer you feel should have been highlighted, post me a Tweet and we may just have a part two of this article…

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