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History of Amapiano Music in South Africa

History of Amapiano

Africa prides itself on having a diverse musical taste. Even today, the new airwaves from South Africa has taken the world by storm. The Amapiano genre is the new house music that began in the southern part of the continent but has now been exported beyond the shores of Africa.

In 2019, the waves of a new genre in African music began. During the height of the coronavirus lockdown in 2020, DJs and artists collaborated to give fans something new to enjoy. A deep fusion of several South African sounds with a strong rhythm.

The genre can be traced back to Kwaito, an Afro Pop genre that blends musical beats from Zulu folklore. A revered culture in South Africa, Zulu and its sounds have inspired numerous genres in South African music.

The popularity of Amapiano started in Pretoria back in 2016. Lying just outside the capital Johannesburg, Pretoria now has one more bragging point over Jo’burg. The continuous piano keys used in the music, as well as a bit of jazz and percussion from the Zulu culture clearly define the music genre Amapiano.

The “ama” in the name signifies the piano elements in the music which plays out extensively. The prefix is also a Zulu word.

Before its wide popularity in 2020, Amapiano built a wide fan base in Gauteng. It was hard for any house party to not play an Amapiano song in the area. It became the launching pad for the genre to travel the world through which several DJs and producers have now fine-tuned to soothe an even bigger fan base.

Initially, few artists were willing to jump on the new beats and make a new song for a new fan base. Samthing Soweto and Moonchild’s Sanelly were, without a doubt, the first SA artists to push out Amapiano songs. The reception was superb!

Seeing the reaction of the fans, SA rapper Sho Madjozi came out with a track of his own. The rapper became a testament that Amapiano was the thing SA artists needed to be the leading pack in Africa. From there, the likes of DJ Maphorisa, Kabz De Small, MFR Souls, and De Mthuda came aboard with fresh tunes and became highly revered in the industry.

When the world was fighting the deadly coronavirus in 2020 in lockdown, South African music charts were being led by a group of Amapiano artists thanks to the efforts made by several artists including DJ Maphorisa, Kabz De Small, MFR Souls, and De Mthuda who despite the backlash by some well-established artistes, just kept making good music.

DJ Maphoria and Kabz De Small collaborated on The Scorpion Kings album. This single effort brought about the needed paradigm shift in the industry. The big players stopped, took a breath, and realized Amapiano is a big and worthy genre.

Scorpion Kings explored the breadth and depth of Amapiano with flawless musical prowess and creativity on display. Amapiano is a deeply felt music genre thanks to its infusion of several musical instruments chiefly the piano and other instruments including percussion.

Today, Amapiano is the go-to sound for house parties. DJs all over the street of SA and beyond have attested to the genre as the “jackpot with flavorful music.”

Every day, there is a new banger in the Amapiano genre, or a big artiste teaming up with an Amapiano crooner.

As Amapiano continues to garner waves in the international scene, it is important to give credit to the pioneering artists, radio stations and fans who embraced it from the start.

Amapiano is the sound that makes a difference.


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