10 Shimza Tracks You Should Know
Tembisa-born Ashley Raphala, better known as Shimza, has spent a lifetime honing his skills on the decks and in the studio. He is well known for his ingenious and infectious playing style, earning the nicknames “effect master” and “vinyl assassin.” Dance floors are left dumbfounded by how skilfully he punctuates his sets with intricate queuing and looping as he crafts his distinctive Afro tech sound.
He is currently based in Johannesburg and dead set on bringing Afro tech to all corners of the earth. It’s no surprise that his international music career has grown rapidly on the back of touring and performing. Shimza comes through with a hybrid of native influences and international styles to create something authentically fresh and inspired. Here are ten tracks by Shimza that you absolutely must listen to.
1. Shimza - Higher ft. Nobuhle
With an infectious rhythm and hip-swaying melody, “Higher” instantly catapults you onto a sunny seafront, where you can dance along to its stratospheric beats with warm sand at your feet. Featuring Nobuhle, the single incorporates breezy vocals with technical prowess — lending the perfect atmosphere for Shimza’s expert song selection and intricate mixing abilities.
2. DJ Maphorisa & Shimza - Makhe ft. Moonchild Sanelly
Shimza joins forces with the prolific DJ Maphorisa and Moonchild Sanelly to produce this Gqom party tune, “Makhe.” Gqom music is a unique, dark subgenre of house music that emerged mostly from the townships of Durban, South Africa, in the early 2000s. It is a specific drum pattern that consists mostly of hard kicks and deep bass sounds mixed with low, dark elements such as strings, vocal loops, and screams. It is intended to literally be felt in the chest.
3. Shimza - Fight To Love ft. Maleh
Shimza came together with South African singer and songwriter Maleh to produce this brilliant single, “Fight To Love.” Maleh was inspired to write this number following the global lockdown, which saw many loved ones separated and longing to be reunited.
4. Prince Kaybee, Shimza, & Black Motion - Uwrongo ft. Ami Faku
Prince Kaybee, Shimza, and Black Motion are South African dance music royalty. This eclectic masterpiece brings together their dramatic drum patterns, tribal percussion, and melodic ambience tied in with Afro-soul singer Ami Faku, who carries the song with her effortless and polished vocals.
5. Angelique Kidjo - Agolo (Shimza Remix)
Shimza takes his influence into West Africa with this lavish remix of Angelique Kidjo’s Grammy Award-winning single, “Agolo.” Shimza tastefully blends his idea of Afro tech into the Afrobeat instrumental to deliver a heavy-hitting house rendition.
6. Shimza - Kimberley
Released on Luciano's Cadenza Records, Shimza’s “Kimberly” erupts with an enigmatic aura and arpeggiated synth rhythms. Big drops and a hands-in-the-air atmosphere is the name of the game in this track. It oozes with Afro flair and scintillating pads that push the energy forward until the very last beat.
7. Shimza - Dancefloor Keeper
Shimza expresses his creative flair on the infectious “Dancefloor Keeper.” The slick, trance-inspired stabs and permeating bass line expose its ominous nature as it swells to a seismic drop bound to indeed keep you on the dance floor.
8. Shimza - Eminence
“Eminence” is a charged number driven by vibrating drums and persistent arpeggios. This makes for a captivating, peak-time anthem, offering the nostalgic essence of Detroit’s late ‘90s brilliance.
9. Shimza - Asuk
Shimza’s brilliance shines through in this beautifully upbeat Afro tech track. Distorted undertones and expertly programmed toms enshroud the rhythm with an addictive essence that pulsates from the very first beat, running all the way through the duration of the soundscape.
10. Shimza & Darque - Kethiwe ft. Sino Msolo
Shimza teamed up with Afro house legend Darque and vocalist Sino Msolo. The trio fused their selective styles on this momentous collaboration which took the airwaves by storm. Bringing together the wealth of production potential between Shimza and Darque as well as the amazingly talented voice of Sino Msolo, these three artists delivered nothing short of a masterpiece.
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