Here's our pick of the hits that had us on the dance floor this year:
BANGER OF THE YEAR
De Mthuda & Njelic: Shesha
This slow burn mix has been a club banger since the first time we heard it, and not a day goes by when it’s not playing on one radio station or another. We can’t get enough of De Mthuda and Njelic’s sweet melodic sounds on this House track.
Shesha, which basically urges the listener to take a quick bath, get ready and head over to the club, party or wherever the vibe is, has made the duo household names and sought-after performers.
Not even Mi Casa’s J’Something could resist putting a soulful spin on the song with his guitar.
INTERNATIONAL BANGER OF THE YEAR
Lizzo is one of this year’s most debated singers/rappers – mostly because humans insist on putting people into boxes, but she’s simply everything! Juice – which was released in January, but still has everyone singing along to it – is a retro-inspired funk and funk-pop song based on a throwback groove. Lyrically, the song discusses self-love and is one badass self-esteem anthem.
Semi Tee featuring Miano and Kammu Dee: Labantwana Ama Uber
Colombus Crew on YouTube commented: “If they don’t play this song at my funeral, I’m not going,” and I 100% get it.
However, Semi Tee, Miano and Kammu Dee have received some criticism that the hit track, which has turned into a national anthem, encourages the use of drugs. But the trio says that people should listen to the song thoroughly because they’re actually encouraging youngsters to do the right thing by abstaining from drugs. That didn’t stop some mainstream radio stations from censoring some of the lyrics, though.
Labantwana Ama Uber is an electrifying amapiano track that has everyone dancing to it over and over again. You have to repeat it.
ROAD TRIP SINGLE
Prince Kaybee featuring Msaki: Fetch Your Life
Reading the comments left on the YouTube video of this song will have you dive even deeper into its lyrics, which seem to constantly change their meaning.
Then there is Msaki’s hauntingly beautiful voice that reminds us to live our purpose, and if we’re not already doing so, to identify it and then pursue it.
Sho Madjozi: John Cena
We first heard this track when Sho Madjozi debuted it on international music platform Colors. In the days following its release, she received shoutouts in more than 70 countries.
And no one hyped up the song more than the man himself – Madjozi’s childhood hero, wrestler John Cena. He’s been gushing over her, making him “cool” again on his social media platforms and on US talk shows, including The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Kelly Clarkson Show and A Little Late with Lilly Singh.
INTERNATIONAL SURPRISE HIT
Lil Nas X featuring Billy Ray Cyrus: Old Town Road
Let’s be honest ... Lil Nas X’s Old Town Road is the most important song of the year, and it deserved its viral moment. As the longest-running number one single so far in history, the song initially gained popularity on social video sharing app TikTok.
It reached number 19 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart before it (haters!) disqualified the song from being included on the chart because it “did not fit the genre”, sparking a debate on the definition of country music.
Just think ... the then 19-year-old spent $30 (R427) to download a beat made by YoungKio, a producer in the Netherlands, then channelled his southern roots and his feelings of solitude and, voilà. “I’m gonna take my horse to the old town road/ I’m gonna ride ’til I can’t no more,” has all the kids singing. And when the kids love it, it’s a certified hit.
Ed Sheeran featuring Justin Bieber: I Don’t Care
English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran and Canadian singer Justin Bieber are the perfect duo to create what eventually became an annoying song that wouldn’t leave your head. Well, that’s just a nasty way of saying that they know how to create catchy hits and, unfortunately, this one was no different.