Amapiano is gearing up to go on voyage of world domination; spreading its wings with the intention to reach a new level.
Clarence Mac Ebong
●18th April 2023
For Africans, our culture is dance. All our music is borne out of the desire to get everyone on their feet; whether to rejoice in the name of a higher power or out of plain hedonistic euphoria. Afrobeats has taken off and is soaring worldwide, picking up new passengers aboard its express. Down south, Amapiano is gearing up to go on its own voyage; spreading its wings with the intention to reach a new level.
One could say it’s already taken off; although coupling the feelings the genre evokes and its sonic quality, it feels like we are only scratching the surface. It evolved from GQOM and South African House into something less heavy and more spiritual, with the floating piano, shakers, and log drums as some of the genre’s prominent instrumentation. Many artists in South Africa and beyond are pivoting to the genre for this very reason. It is truly a genre of feeling that takes root in your heart and energizes your feet in electric dance.
At least, that’s the way I felt witnessing Kabza De Small’s set at the Konka Day Club in Soweto. Immediately he started playing, a scene once pumping with hip-hop’s energy turned into a psychedelic space as fist pumps turned into swaying movements under the club’s changing lights. A few days later I witnessed DJ Maphorisa create a record from scratch, lacing it with his and WurlD’s vocals. These experiences made me realize that, unlike other genres, Amapiano’s sound and feeling cannot be easily replicated. It comes with living, studying, and understanding South Africa as well as its prevalent dance culture.
However, South African Amapiano artists appreciate our variations of the genre. Nigerian artists like Asake, Seyi Vibez, Mr. Eazi and pretty much everyone else have tapped into variations of Amapiano. The genre’s influence on Africa is already prevalent, and it is growing by the day. It is only a matter of time before the genre goes truly global, and when it does, you can trust that there would be a big celebration.
Amapiano has already started leaving footprints in intercontinental sands. In June last year, DJ Maphorisa and Kabza De Small played a 6-hour set at the Sonár Festival in Barcelona. Major League DJz also host the Amapiano Balcony Mix, playing in different countries like England and Sweden. And as other Amapiano stars like Focalistic, Young Stunna, and duo Mellow & Sleazy take their art to a new level, the Amapiano genre is becoming increasingly hard to ignore.