Amapiano is a genre of South African house music that originated in the townships of Gauteng province, particularly in the cities of Pretoria and Johannesburg, around the mid-2010s. It has gained massive popularity in recent years, especially in African countries like Nigeria, Ghana, and Kenya, as well as in the United Kingdom.
Amapiano is characterized by its distinctive use of piano melodies, African percussion, and deep basslines. It also incorporates elements of kwaito, jazz, and deep house music. The genre’s fast tempo, groovy beats, and catchy hooks have made it a favorite among the younger generation of music lovers.
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The origin of amapiano is traced to a group of young producers in Pretoria who began experimenting with different sounds and beats. These producers included Kabza De Small, DJ Maphorisa, DJ Sumbody, and Vigro Deep, among others. They would create beats and melodies using software and upload them online for other artists to use.
The new wave of south african amapiano has seen the genre gain global recognition, with several artists breaking out and gaining international fame. Kabza De Small and DJ Maphorisa are two of the most prominent figures in the genre, having collaborated with artists such as Wizkid, Burna Boy, and Drake.
Other notable amapiano artists include Focalistic, MFR Souls, Sha Sha, and Busiswa. These artists have contributed to the genre’s growth, collaborating with one another and experimenting with different sounds to keep the music fresh and exciting. TikTok dance challenges by eye-catching influencers and ordinary users alike flood social media, creating constant viral sensations.
Amapiano doesn’t sound like anything else
“The energy is unlike anything else,” said Walshy Fire, one-third of DJ trio Major Lazer alongside Diplo and Ape Drums. Major Lazer recently released a collaborative amapiano project entitled “Piano Republik” with Major League DJz, the identical twin producer duo whose Balcony Mixes during lockdown helped grow the genre. “It doesn’t sound like anything else. There’s nothing else going on like this energy.”
The future of amapiano looks bright, with the genre showing no signs of slowing down. It has become a staple in African clubs and parties, and its popularity continues to spread across the globe. With more and more artists joining the genre, we can expect to see even more diverse sounds and styles emerge.
From production to promotion, there is a can-do, do-it-yourself attitude among popular amapiano songs that promises to shift paradigms of how music is both appreciated and consumed. It also reflects how the most interesting developments in music such as jazz, punk, grunge, hip-hop and now amapiano, invariably emerge from underground scenes.
Amapiano is a reclamation of house music
In a sense, amapiano is a reclamation of house music, according to Walshy Fire. The Miami native explained how house music developed out of parties in Chicago and Detroit in the 1970s before exploding in the 1980s. By the 2000s, however, it was “fully taken over.”
“You barely have any black people that are performing it, DJing it and Black people just stop liking house music altogether,” Walshy Fire said to Miami Herald. Amapiano, however, has provided what he calls “a real reset.”
“No matter where you are, you play an amapiano song, Black people going to dance, Black people are gonna resonate, Black people are gonna somehow be like, ‘Why does this feel so familiar?’” Walshy Fire continued. “And I can’t explain that except to say this is already happened in our mental DNA.”
In conclusion, amapiano is a dynamic and exciting genre of music that has taken the world by storm. Its unique blend of African rhythms and western influences has captivated audiences and cemented its place in the global music scene. With its talented artists and growing fan base, amapiano is set to dominate the airwaves for years to come.