Meet the young producers behind some of the country’s biggest club bangers. Fairness “Fenesse” Twala, Mnqobi “Lunatik” Nxumalo and Tumelo “Tweezy” Mathebula have made songs that have been handpicked by some of the continent’s biggest artists and have scooped several awards– all before their 25th birthdays.
Twala is a music producer, DJ and songwriter born in Tzaneen in Limpopo – where he started making music at just 13. “I was heavily influenced by the dirty South sound – the likes of Lil’ Wayne, Soulja Boy, Lil’ Jon and Timbaland and produced hip hop right off the bat,” he recalls. He didn’t have much to work with apart from a friend’s father’s computer and Fruity Loops – a musical production application – but he made music religiously. At 16, he produced Cassper Nyovest’s hit single Doc Shebeleza and worked with Riky Rick, DJ Speedsta and DJ Vigilante.
Mathebula, 23, moved from Westville, Durban to Joburg when he was 6 years old after the death of his parents. This is where he would discover his passion: “I fell in love with making music through Fruity Loops, which I thought was a game at the time,” he laughs.
His first break as a hit maker was in 2014, when he worked with AKA on Run Jozi. Their musical chemistry led to further collaborations on hits like Sim Dope and All Eyes on Me.
Nxumalo, 21, cites working on Emtee’s Avery as his most enjoyable production experience, but he was introduced to us in 2014 when he made K.O.’s Cara Cara. Born in Empangeni in KwaZulu-Natal, he started making beats in 2009 for rappers in his neighbourhood and was inspired by Lil’ Wayne and Kanye West. He would later meet and collaborate with Cashtime’s K.O. and Ma-E as well as songstress Moneoa and Vth Season’s Yanga.
Fenesse and Lunatik are looking to showcase their versatility as producers, each working on projects set for release later this year: “I’ll be working strictly with some of the guys who were with me when I started out,” Fenesse says of his self-titled EP. Lunatik says we should look forward to something different from him: “Everything I’ve produced up to now hasn’t been me. I’ve done it to pay the bills.
My album is likely to be called The Asylum and it’s going to be a sound people have never heard.” Tweezy has his sights on his return to the spotlight as a rapper – having recently released his single Ambition to a positive response from the industry and fans. He also has a clothing line called Jelly Beanz and his own recording label, Hits Since ’14, in the works. These young stars clearly have no intentions of being one-hit wonders. If they keep working at this rate, we can only imagine what they’ll be doing at 30.