Zwai Bala produced most of TKZee's hits. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

The 10 Best Kwaito Producers

Get to know the the 10 most notable old school kwaito producers.


The self-proclaimed King of kwaito produced almost every song that was released under his label 999 Music. Except producing his own hits such as the monumental "Kaffir," "Oyi Oyi," "Mnike," "Haybo," "Twalatsa," among hoards of others, he produced hits for Abashante, Ishmael, Makhendlas, Purity, New Skool, Chomee, Iyaya, Zombo and more.

Earlier, his production style was simplistic, with a lean bassline and high pitch organ keys, but later became wider as demonstrated on songs like his hit "Pule Pule" and Ishmael's "Roba Le Theka," which boasted a healthy bass line and layers of pads that proved Mafokate was moving with the times and improving on his sound.

Apart from the instrumentals, Arthur's production was distinct as a reasonable number of his productions featured vocals usually sung by members of the group Abashante.

Arthur's solo singles and those he produced for artists signed under 999 Music were responsible for popularizing dances that are now part of South African subculture­–kwasa kwsa, twalatsa, manyisa and more.

Notable Productions

Arthur "Kaffir"

Makhendlas "Iminwe"

Ishmael "Roba Le Theka"

New Skool "Dlala Kayona"

Abashante "Girls"

Arthur "Haai bo"

Arthur "Sika Lekhekhe"

Arthur "Pule Pule"

Arthur "Oyi Oyi"

Arthur "Mnike"

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Interview: 808x On Crafting Different Sounds For the Diverse Innanetwav Roster

808x, the in-house producer for South Africa's popular hip-hop collective/label Innanetwav, breaks down his working process with artists and the importance of energy.

Reflecting on the early days of Cash Money Records during a conversation with legendary New Orleans producer Mannie Fresh earlier this year, Lil Wayne said:

"When we started, record labels had one producer for the whole record label. Meaning that Mannie Fresh produced every song on every album, from the intro to the artist."

Some labels, groups and collectives still observe that tradition. It, however, takes a producer with such versatility they could be mistaken to be different personalities altogether.

Joburg-based producer 808x is a great example of that type of producer. Being the in-house producer and engineer for one of the country's most versatile collectives and contemporary hip-hop labels, Innanetwav, 808x has to craft beats that slice through the spectrum of genres with inimitable fluidity and creativity.

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