Top Afro House Artists of 2020
It was another standout year for Afro House as releases came thick and fast. A sub genre underpinned by stripped back percussion, tribal grooves and deep, soulful flavors - we’ve seen what was once predominantly driven by artists from South Africa, now include other producers from across the continent, with Europe and the US starting to expand their musical horizons and tap deeper into their roots. Doug Gomez, Manoo, Jihad Muhammad, Saint Evo, Pepe Citarella, Enoo Napa, Daniel Rateuke, Timmy Regisford and Moon Rocket kept the levels high throughout the year amongst many others. Faces both familiar and new dropped hot cuts on the likes of Foliage Records, Sunlightsquare Records, Nulu, Union Records, Aluku, Tribal Winds, Merecumbe Recordings - the list goes on! Find out for yourself who made it into our Top Afro House Artists of 2020, we’ll let the beats do the talking!
Known for: Vanco, Mavhungu - Kondelelani (Original Mix) Djeff, Vanco, Mavhungu - Tshelede (Original Mix) Vanco, Cee ElAssaad, - Zamekile feat. Lizwi (Original Mix)
19. David Morales
Known for: David Morales, Elle Cato - And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going (Original) Mikki Afflick - Thunder Drum Dance (David Morales Diridim Remix), David Morales, Timmy Regisford, Toshi - Maka David Morales, Timmy Regisford, Toshi - Maka
Known for: Coflo - Lux (Kaidi Tatham Remix) Coflo - Lux (Coflo's Extended Mix) Coflo, Lee Wilson - Fool For You (Coflo's Fux Wit It Mix)
17. Hallex M
Known for: Hallex M, Mijangos - Maria (Calle Ocho Mix) Dany Cohiba - Orgullo Latino (Hallex M Remix) Hallex M, Stevo Atambire - Da'Ana (Original Mix)
16. Saliva Commandos
Known for: Saliva Commandos - W E R K. (Extended Mix) Saliva Commandos - Are you alive? (Original Mix) Saliva Commandos - Dirty Socks (Main Mix)
15. Cee ElAssaad
Known for: Antonio Ocasio, Cee ElAssaad - Agbara (Power) Cee ElAssaad, Thandi Draai - LoMhlaba (Original Mix) Cee ElAssaad, Fnx Omar, Idd Aziz - Zhele (Original Mix)
Known for: St Germain - Rose rouge (Atjazz Galaxy Aart Remix) Sunlightsquare - Oyelo (Atjazz Love Soul Remix) Lea, Muzikman Edition, Tweety - Songbird (Atjazz Love Soul Remix)
13. Oscar P
Known for: Selva Basaran - Uthando (Oscar P Rework), Fela Kuti, Oscar P, Egypt 80 - O.D.O.O. (Oscar P Afro Rebel Mix), Michele Cartello - Liquid Summer O Luv (Oscar P & Ivan Afro 5 Re-Touch)
Known for Caiiro - The Sapiens, Caiiro feat Awen - Your Voice, Caiiro & Da Capo - Watoto
11. Louie Vega
Known for: Josh Wink, Ursula Rucker - Sixth Sense (Louie Vega Remix), Louie Vega Feat. Nico Vega - How He Works, Louie Vega starring George Lamond - Woman.
10. Enoo Napa
Climbing up from #16 last year and into the 2020 top 10 is the brilliant Enoo Napa! Having carved his own path following playing at Black Coffee’s residency at Hiï Ibiza alongside the likes of The Black Madonna Eli & Fur, Mandar and Guy Gerber - his remixes and original productions continue to capture the attention of music lovers and DJs from around the world. His remix of the Daniel Rateuke & AWEN smash ‘Gold’ blew up our charts, taking the track down a more futuristic, pulsating direction. Ocha Records released his beautiful remix of Literatura’s ‘Dream’ - equally ambient as it was rhythmic and inspiring. ‘Layla’ saw Enoo take on DJ Merlon feat. Toshi’s track with his ‘Over Dub’ for a more up tempo outing and his rework of ‘Your Voice’ showing us why he’s one to watch right now. Big things are coming from Enoo Napa and we can’t wait to see him back in the booth putting dancefloors through their paces in his true, deep hypnotic fashion!
It was a great year for Peppe! The Union Records boss brought it home yet again with a number of original releases, remixes and with his own tracks remixed by the likes of Mijangos. He ends the year with 7 tracks in the Top 200 Afro House Tracks of 2020 and with a label in match-fit condition. His collaboration with Migangos feat. Manybeat - ‘Bailando De Too’ served up some of his Latin House touches. ‘Casablanca’, again with Mijangos, was a percussive dream followed up by his collaboration with Mthique Cruz feat. Ntokozo on ‘Thembalami’ which flew up our Traxsource charts. Terry Hunter’s remix of ‘Tacalacateo’ proved to be a sticker for DJs, remaining in our charts for an extended period of time with the beautiful Afro House saxophone-driven rework of ‘Sorte Revelada’ giving us goosebumps. Rounding off his 11th year as a producer, it’s been a decade of nothing but high quality music with no signs of slowing down any time soon!
8. Saint Evo
Kenya’s Saint Evo, the driving force behind Celsius Degree Records which launched last year, had yet another solid year of quality output. With 2 tracks within the Top 200 Afro House Tracks of 2020, we’re delighted that he still finds the musical freedom that continues to draw legions of fans. ‘Wiyyan’, released on Nulu, was a standout track from the category and further cemented his status as one of the more creative and sophisticated producers out there - holding all of his trademark space, clarity and understated rhythm that gently moves the track along. Tribe Records was home to a big fusion of electronica and Afro House with Lizwi lighting up ‘Mntwana’ - a combination that we hope to hear a lot more of in the year ahead!
Making his debut at an impressive #7 this year is German DJ, producer and remixer - Daniel Rateuke! Known for his melodic techno sounds, and groovy Afro House, it’s the latter where Daniel came into his own this year. He ends the year with an array of both his own tracks in our Top 200 Afro House Tracks of 2020 chart, alongside a number of remixes by other leading artists such as Enoo Napa and Richard Earnshaw, which also made the cut. His collaboration with AWEN - ‘Gold’ was a smash of the year receiving spins from DJs far and wide thanks to its infections piano loop and electronic beat. Daniel’s ‘Or Stay Alive’ with Ursula Rucker served as the catalyst for a big remix by Richard Earnshaw. Daniel is a class act, and one that we welcome to the category with open arms, excited for what he brings to the table next year!
It was another incredibly strong year for New Jersey legend, Jihad Muhammad - landing 5 tracks in the Top 200 Afro House Tracks of 2020, with two of those sitting comfortably in the top 10! A regular name that we often associate with quality and prestige amongst the deeper and more soulful sounds, Jihad Muhammad came through better than ever in 2020 with a stream of remixes and original productions. He teamed up with DJ Spen to remix ATFC’s ‘Das Dope’ which remained high in our charts for quite some time, offering up those classic percussive beats to the unquantize crew and his remix of Geoffrey C’s ‘Yo Barnum’ blew our socks off with a high octane delivery, again on unquantize. DJ Spen and Reelsoul returned the remix favor, dropping their take of ‘Voices In My Mind’. ‘Gathering’ - originally by Mr. Eclectic feat. the ever powerful sounds of Venessa Jackson, got the rework treatment on Pasqua Records. Showing the full extent of his creative abilities, his bang the drum remix of Dana Weaver’s ‘I Will Arise’ was a class act in other worldly synths, warm pads and stirring vocals. Exactly the kind of uplifting energy the world needed in 2020 courtesy of a true House Music pioneer.
Timmy Regisford has one of the longest-standing associations with House Music and the industry as a whole. Having been involved since the 80s within roles including A&R for Atlantic, MCR, Motown and Dreamworks and as one of the founding individuals behind the Shelter parties in NYC - you can feel the history and knowledge flow through his productions as a signature stamp of quality. With his cuts on continuous rotation by some of the biggest names in the scene around the world, 2020 delivered some of his most exciting productions to date. ‘Self Lovers’ alongside Toshi on Quantize Recordings is the level of songwriting that we’ve come to expect; slick, understated, stripped back and dripping in soul. The pair teamed up again for ‘Shele’ - this time on unquantize, for another slice of captivating and deep funk. Timmy teamed up with Mark Francis to rework ‘Dark Room’ injecting some more bounce and tempo into the hypnotic Quantize cut and then with Soul Star on the brilliant ‘Khale’. We’re grateful to have a legend still at the top of his game and leading the way!
Moving up 4 places from #8 last year for another high ranking, Mijangos continues to develop his own unique and popular sound that remains firmly in the setlists of Dave Lee, Mr V, Peppe Citarella and Julias Papp. Known for his Latin House productions and wideraging influences, Mijangos scored an impressive 10 cuts within our Top 200 Afro House Tracks of 2020. These included his remix of Peppe Citarella feat. Brutha Basil’s ‘Warning’ released on Union Records, a relentlessly good groove and driving beat. ‘Tormenta’, also released on Union Records, was a firm slice of classic Afro House with that special Mijangos touch. ‘Tumbaoo’ was another successful release that found its way into our charts with its feel-good piano riff, not forgetting ‘La Sabana’ on House Tribe Records, which was a lesson in percussion. Congratulations Mijangos, we’re looking forward to finding out what he’s been up to in the studio next year!
Riding high in the Afro House rankings for the third year in a row, and a name often found within our Weekend Weapons and Hype charts, is Manoo. He’s managed to score an impressive 8 tracks within our Top 200 Afro House Tracks of 2020 and hold his reputation as one of the most solid selectors out there today. Releases arrived on Ocha Mzansi in the shape of ‘Somnyama’ - his rework of DJ Kabila and Wenysoni’s simultaneously uplifting-yet-deep cut. ‘Freely’ saw Manoo lay down a driving remix of Dayo feat. Elo-Melo’s original, giving vocals space to shine above a pulsating beat. His dub of ‘Tishiki’ on Compost showed us his breadth of influences as a producer with his remix of ‘Oba Lata’ on Foliage Records giving us that trademark Manoo bounce that we’ve all come to know and love. Long live Manoo!
2. Doug Gomez
This year’s #2 spot goes to NYC producer, Merecumbe Recordings label boss and music maker - Doug Gomez! Honing his craft since 1987, Doug Gomez is responsible for some of the most successful and iconic Afro House releases. Thanks to his own unique brand of a more Soulful Afro House, influenced by Latin and Afro percussion and his Columbian heritage, he’s been able to carve out a longstanding position as one of the guiding lights of the scene. This year saw Doug land an impressive 13 tracks in our Top 200 Afro House Tracks of 2020, dropping originals and remixes galore. ‘Wish Upon A Star’ - his take on Tracebeatz & Bob feat. Milton Lee was a classic slice of Doug Gomez goodness, fusing together soulful vocals underpinned by a pulsating electric groove - percussion with funk and feeling. ‘Woman So Strong’ was yet another standout cut as Doug Gomez set to work laying down one of the biggest remixes of the year for FutureFue & Nuzu Deep. ‘Zanini Kimi’ feat. Lizwi kept the deep and hypnotic grooves coming and ‘Power of the People’ gave us a slice of classic Gomez - music at its finest. It’s exactly the level of quality that we’ve come to expect from one of the most consistent flag bearers of the scene!
1. Moon Rocket
It was a huge year for Moon Rocket. The Miami-based multi-instrumental creative powerhouse has seen success across a number of sub genres within our Traxsource end of year charts, but it’s right here - in Afro House - where Moon Rocket lands the top spot, all the way up from #34 last year! This is thanks to a relentless stream of incredibly successful and inspiring releases - originals and remixes, released across some of the scenes most beloved imprints. His track ‘Reciprocity’ on Foliage Records also marks the #1 spot of our Top 200 Afro House Tracks of 2020, so it’s been quite the year for a man who can lay his hands to firm grooves, percussion and live instruments. Other standout cuts include his spellbinding remix of Mattei & Omich’s ‘Arproador’ where the rocket brought the keys, the beautifully deep ‘Unclutter Your Mind’ and his remix of Oreja’s ‘Vazilando’ on Papa Records. He kept the tracks coming, offering up ‘Klop’ with TSOS and his remix of ‘The Bull’ - originally by Kevin Yost. Congratulations Moon Rocket, we can’t wait to see what he’s got lined up for next year!