Amapiano is a style of house music that was born in South Africa in 2012. Amapiano comes from the Zulu colloquial term which refers to pianos, however the music is a hybrid of deep house, jazz and lounge music characterised by synths, airy pads and wide and percussive basslines.
The sound has taken over the nation and is quickly finding fans across the world. Briefly News takes a look at the impact of this unique music genre.
1. Origins of Amapiano
Although the genre gained popularity in Gauteng, there's a lot of debate about where exactly it came from; some say the townships of Johannesburg while others argue that it originated in Pretoria.
2. Amapiano pioneers
The founders of Amapiano are another contested topic.
Self-proclaimed founding producers are Jazzi Disciples, which consists of Mr JazziQ and music partner Josiah De Disciple. Speaking to SowetanLive, the duo said that they hadn't anticipated that the genre would ever end up on national radio because initially it was frowned upon.
Two years after the genre was founded, they started gaining a lot of attention in their hometown and the neighbouring townships. Soon Amapiano went beyond local taverns.
However, some early adopters of the sound point to DJ and producer duo MFR Souls as its originators and coiners.
3. Increase in popularity
In 2020, the genre saw an increase in popularity across the African continent with noted increases in digital streams.
In September last year, the hashtag #amapiano reached more than 100 million views on TikTok. Kabza De Small and DJ Maphorisa led the pack, amassing over 13 million views for their hit Phoyisa.
Last year, Kabza De Small was the most streamed local artist on Spotify SA followed by DJ Maphorisa. Amapiano DJs are also being booked internationally, playing in Belgium, Spain and the UK, where there is a huge house scene.
Even local artists have moved from their own genres to experiment with Amapiano. Briefly News learned that Cassper Nyovest hinted at releasing a new Amapiano album soon. The rapper took to social media on Wednesday, 24 March and shared that he has reached "GOAT" level when it come to hip-hop and is ready to just have fun with music.
He shared that his Amapiano album is ready and it is as hot as his hip-hop tunes. The star replied to a fan on Twitter:
"Surely I've reached GOAT LEVEL now. It's time to have fun with it and let it ride out or what? This piano album is also something else I tell you. Can't wait to drop."
4. International recognition
Briefly News has noted that the South African music genre has been receiving international recognition from all over the world.
Just a few weeks ago, a skilful group of Nigerian-American dancers took to the streets of Washington DC to share their love of South African Amapiano music with locals.
The gentlemen brought a busy intersection to a captivated standstill as they pranced in the street and brought traffic to a complete halt. Watching the viral video, it's clear the three dancers were absolute vibes, encouraging residents to join in the rhythmic 'line-dance'.
Briefly News also noted that American rapper Diddy left Mzansi social media users excited and impressed when a video of him jamming to Ke Star by Focalistic was shared online.
The footage showed the billionaire dancing, albeit a little strangely, to the South African Amapiano star’s track. The dancing was so out of rhythm that many thought that the song may have been dubbed into the video.
However, it turns out Diddy is just a terrible dancer. Either way, South Africans loved the fact that the international star took the time to appreciate our homegrown music.
Alicia Keys also took to social media to post a video and had Ke Star by Focalistic playing in the background.
The South African artist saw the video and took to social media to share his excitement. He tweeted:
“It’s crazy!! This is @aliciakeys & @THEREALSWIZZZ playing Ke Star on a random day!!! ASE TRAP TSE KE PINA TSA KO KASI WORLD WIDE. It’s really possible.”
Meanwhile, Briefly News previously reported that Amapiano heavyweight Kabza De Small has hinted that he might move to a different genre.
Kabza has given Mzansi hit after hit during the past few months. He has been keeping South African dance floors full since Amapiano took over the dance scene from Gqom music.
The star, who constantly collaborates with DJ Maphorisa on Amapiano projects, has even earned himself the nickname 'King of Amapiano'.
There's no doubt in any music lovers' mind that Kabza is a real gem when it comes to the music he has produced so far. But will he be as good as he is now when he moves to another genre? Let's wait for his new music to drop.
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Source: Briefly News