Wizkid‘s first body of work under Sony/RCA Records – Sound From The Other Side – is a major icebreaker for the African music industry in more ways than one. While we celebrate this huge milestone, and how far the Kid from Ojuelegba has come, it’s important to shed some light on the criminally unsung heroes on the “other side”; the producers.
On #SFTOS, Wizkid carries some of Africa’s most talented beatmakers along in a major way. Of the 12 songs on the “mixtape”, 8 are produced by Nigerians, a 9th by a South African, leaving the final 3 to their foreign counterparts.
Sarz (Sweet Love, Come Closer, African Bad Gal):
Sarz has earned his stripes in the game. He’s seen as one of the finest producers outta Africa, and rightly so. In the last couple of years, the former Trybe Records 2.0 signee has become a close Wizkid associate, while maintaining his independent status (he’s not signed to Starboy).
The “Beat of Life (Samba)” producer gets the joint-highest production credits with 3 tracks on #SFTOS. He’s also the real brain behind Drake’s “One Dance“, even though he wasn’t officially credited for it.
Spellz (Picture Perfect, One For Me, Sexy):
Like Sarz, Spellz scores 3 bangers on #SFTOS. “Picture Perfect” is an early fan favorite as it ticks all the right boxes when it comes to appealing to the ladies, “One For Me” is the better of the 2 Ty Dolla $ign collaborations, and “Sexy” is the signature Afrobeat tune you expect to hear on a Wizkid album.
Del’B (Nobody, Gbese): Ever since Wizkid and Del’B created a hit with “On Top Your Matter” back in 2013, you just knew these guys were gonna continue working together. That chemistry is clearly evident on the Dancehall banger, “Nobody“, and the Trey Songz collaboration “Gbese“, a song I expect to do well in Nigeria.
DJ Maphorisa (All For Love): The South African producer, known for so many House hits, completes the African set of beatmakers on #SFTOS. The project wouldn’t be a true reflection of ‘sounds from the other side‘ if there’s no sprinkle of House music, a genre which fully dominated Africa 2-3 years ago. And when it comes to House music production, you’d be hard pressed to find someone better than Maphorisa.
The late 2015/early 2016 hit, “Soweto Baby” stands out as a successful Wizkid-Maphorisa link-up. “All For Love” was recorded around that same period, but was kept under wraps till #SFTOS dropped. It is believed, in some quarters, that Maphorisa also played a role alongside Sarz on Drake’s “One Dance“, but like Sarz, he missed out on the official credits. No qualms though. The lads are still making hits; long may it continue.
“All For Love” (featuring the soon-to-be-retired Bucie) is a personal fave.
Other Producers (foreign)
Major Lazer (Naughty Ride)
Dre Skull (Daddy Yo)
DJ Mustard (Dirty Whine).
Legendury Beatz: It’s a huge shock to see the Legendury Beatz duo – Mutay and Zee – get zero credit on this project. My gut feeling tells me the “Ojuelegba” producers will feature heavily on Wiz’s album; after all, this is just a mixtape, eh? 😉
Maleek Berry: Another Starboy in-house beatmaker conspicuously missing from #SFTOS. Berry is doing his thing now as a stand-alone act though, so it’s easy to see why. STILL, don’t rule out a Wizkid-Maleek Berry link-up on future Starboy projects.