Producer behind Kwesta’s hit song says he doesn’t get recognised enough

Neo Makwa. (Photo: Neo Makwa Instagram)
Neo Makwa. (Photo: Neo Makwa Instagram)

Johannesburg - He is cocky and not afraid to say he is the best producer in the country because he believes he has worked hard to be where he is today.

Neo Makwa also known by his producer name Makwa is responsible for producing hits for AKA, on his latest album Touch My Blood, Bucie Nkomo’s latest album Rebirth, DJ Fistas, Touchline, JR, just to name a few.

“I have 11 years’ experience in the game, I am allowed to be arrogant and to give myself a pat on the back or because no one else in the industry does,” the 27-year-old explained.

Born and raised in Katlehong, East of Johannesburg, Makwa started producing music when he was still in high school. After Grade 12, he studied Software Development at CTU Training Solution but dropped out on his first year to follow his passion.

“I don’t advise people to drop out of school but I became very frustrated because it wasn’t my first love and decided to leave and follow my passion,” he said.

Coming from a township with a high rate of crime, Makwa says he wanted to break the township child’s narrative of crime, drugs, and alcohol. “Where I come from, a neighbour will rob you in the evening and greet you with a smile first thing in the morning,” 

“I didn’t want to be my story. I have never seen a back of a police van I have never committed a crime. I use my music to express my thoughts and hopefully inspire other younger kids,” he added.

But his passion for inspiring youth won’t make him keep quiet against the entertainment industry’s flaws. Makwa believes he deserves more credit than he is getting for all his hard work. In 2017 Makwa was nominated for Best Producer at the South African Hip- Hop Awards (SAHHA), but Gemini Major walked away as the winner. 

“Those awards for me were a joke because yes Gemini Major made some great hits, buts everyone knows that award was meant to be taken by me. Never mind all the other songs that I produced, but Spirit by Kwesta on its own became an anthem,” he told Drum.

This year Makwe is nominated again for Best Producer at the SAHHA’s but because of last years’ experience, he will not bet his penny on a win. “I don’t care about this year, because I have learned awards are not a way of rating one's value. But people need to know the quality of work I have done,” he says.

Makwa’s recent hit is Kwesta’s song, Vur Vai.

The two met in 2013 after Kwesta heard Makwa’s song Intwe Right featuring TLT.

“He loved the song so much he hunted me down and found me living at my granny’s house in Katlehong,” says Makwa. He then produced Kwesta Noma Yini and started working on his album title Dakar 2. 

“Kwesta would come over to the house and choose any beat that he liked. He really liked the beat I made for Spirit and we started working on it,” said Makwa.

“He wrote the lyrics and we put our head together to make everything work in unison. He initially didn’t like the chorus, but I convinced him to keep it.”

With all the club bangers he has made, Makwa says he is not begging for attention but says we need to give recognition where it’s due, this includes veterans whose contribution in the industry had an impact.

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