5 Joshwa Tracks You Should Know
Dec 13, 2022
5 min read
Fresh out of the UK’s bustling house and techno scene comes Joshwa, a renowned, unstoppable, underground sensation. Joshwa’s career kicked off in 2016, but his career picked up steam a few years later with a string of big releases on labels like Solotoko and Repopulate Mars. Essential tunes like his and Lee Foss’ wonky bassline-fueled “My Humps” and “How We Do” with CID, confirmed to the community that Joshwa was a unique talent.
Joshwa’s sound is rooted in R&B and rap samples; however, Joshwa told Gray Area in a Spotlight Interview that his father introduced him to the vast universe of dance music in an entirely different way.
“My Dad is to blame for this! I first got into electronic music when he played me a compilation CD in his car called Rush Hour, which was full of 90s trance belters. I instantly fell in love with the sound of it and used to pester him to listen to it whenever we went anywhere,” he gushed.
Joshwa spent his teenage years investing in an entrepreneurial career to fund his passion. He admitted he sold treats at school to pay for his initial set of Gemini CDJs.
“I taught myself how to produce and how to DJ by watching YouTube tutorials and reading music production forums such as Laidback Luke’s,” he said.
Flash forward, and Joshwa has earned a top spot on Beatport’s Tech House Artist charts. At the time of publication, he was the third best-selling tech house artist and number 12 overall.
We dug through Joshwa’s catalog to present five tracks that represent his sound best.
1. Joshwa - Love Somebody
2021’s high-energy techno blast, “Love Somebody,” thrusts the listener into a multicolored world of 90s rave. Close your eyes, and the female vocalist transports you to a dark room with iridescent strobe lights and dancing bodies.
About a minute in, Joshwa sprinkles in some tasty acid elements that melt the speakers before the vocalist proclaims, “love somebody, love somebody, yeah,” over a steady wave of staticy synths and syncopated percussion. This is a peak warehouse jam, with one foot in the storied early rave days and the other on a massive festival stage.
2. Joshwa, Lee Foss - My Humps
Arguably Joshwa’s biggest song of 2021, his “My Humps” collaboration with Lee Foss, catapulted him to his current status. The reimagining of the beloved Black Eyed Peas track strips the original production of the song, replacing it with swirling synths and a rock-solid thumping beat. Paired with Fergie’s pitch-shifted bars and chorus, “My Humps” is one for the club.
“This was a super exciting time for me and has helped shape my career in music moving into 2022! I sent Lee an early version of it. He played it out and then asked me to work on it together to finish it, which is now the track you hear today,” Joshwa told Gray Area.
“House music and R&B/Rap work well on the dance floor together and often create a sense of nostalgia for party-goers which gets great reactions. It’s a formula that works really well, and I think that’s clear after the success of tracks like ‘My Humps.’”
3. Joshwa, Ossey James - Party’s Jumpin
An addictive 126 BPM drive line delivers in this Ossey James collab. Another example of Joshwa’s prowess for combining hip-hop swagger and house shuffle, “Party’s Jumpin,” opens with an addictive drum pattern and sticky bassline.
The lyricist launches into a party narrative (an interpolation of Snoop’s iconic “Gin & Juice” flow), “Two in the morning and the party still jumpin’,” while the listener can’t help but sing or tap along to the propelling pulse. Around the 42-second mark, Joshwa and James add stuttering tribal percussion to the minimal beat alongside a sharp synth line that carries the song to its resounding completion.
4. Joshwa, Fallon - Papi
If you were to select a Joshwa song randomly, and you picked “Papi,” the intro might mislead you. A sentimental fingerpicked guitar lick fills the first few seconds of the track until a shout of “Papi” switches the direction towards sexy Latin house vibes.
“Papi” illustrates Joshwa’s protean skill for creating space for any genre within his style, be it hip-hop, R&B, 90s rave, or in this case, salsa. Thunderous trumpets ripple through “Papi” while an infectious synth line dances behind the booming brass. Besides Joshwa’s endlessly impressive knack for fleshing genres together, the trumpets in “Papi” soar over the octave expectations one has for a talented trumpet player.
5. Joshwa - Energizer
“Energizer” was one of Joshwa’s breakout tracks of 2020. Released on Sonny Fodera’s Solotoko, the futuristic three-minute trailblazer does just that—it energizes. The tune unravels a feeling only described as unlocking communication with hyper, extraterrestrial beings. Its off-kilter bassline, rapid-fire synths, hyper-refrained vocals, and otherworldly sounds dance through an undiscovered space.