Amapiano is distinctively Mzansi. Picture: @ItutheGod via @KillerKaursa
Amapiano is distinctively Mzansi. Picture: @ItutheGod via @KillerKaursa

Amapiano is a new sound is taking over the Mzansi music scene, and no it does not involve autotune, synthesized beats, or a kasi version of dubstep writes S’NOTHANDO:

Authentically South African in composition, this emerging genre speaks directly to a demographic of black youth from the vibrant streets of Soshanguve, to the nightlife in Sandton and everything in between.

Introducing Amapiano or the yanos as the cool kids are popularly calling it – a feeling, a lifestyle, a movement.

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Improvs, soulful jazz, percussion

Bred in the Cap City and pioneered by house music collectives, House Afrika and Born in Soweto, Amapiano took a hot minute for people to truly catch on to it. The sound features smooth piano improvs, mixed with soulful jazz instrumentals with a key focus on percussion instruments.

Six months into the year and songs like Isikhathi, Kokota and Shesha Geza not only have partygoers around the country on their feet, but the genre is leading the radio charts and slowly infusing itself into popular culture lingo.

But what does this mean for the Durban-bred genre pioneered by Distruction Boyz, DJ Tira and DJ Maphorisa? Is Gqom really dead?

Unique, compelling dance-floor variant

South African house music is renowned for its ability to reinvent itself. From the street smart, kwaito music of Trompies and Boomshaka, to DJ Cleo and Brickz’s December startups and let’s not forget about Liquid Deep and the early days of Black Coffee. But for the mere fact that Gqom DJ Maphorisa recently jumped shipped and released a new single that is stylistically Amapiano; this clearly proves the title clause of this article: Gqom is dying my good people. It’s not the future, it was the present; the ‘now’ and soon, ‘the #TBT’… you know like Mxit and BBM?

But all shade aside, Gqom did elevate popular dance moves like the vosho and gwaragwara to a global level and hell, even Babes Wodumo’s debut hit single Wololo got a young feature on the popular Marvel movie, Black Panther. But are young South Africans still raving over the sound? No.

Despite all this success, the genre has no chance against Amapiano. When listening to Amapiano, you can hear the influence of all these preceding genres and how the sound of South African house music has, once again, evolved. You can’t help but be overcome by an electrifying need to dance, grab a bottle of something with percentages, or simply engulf yourself in its smooth sounds.

Amapiano is that kind that Bob Marley spoke of; that when it hits you, you feel no pain. You connect with the instrumentals that take you on a spiritual journey only to leave you thinking that the song is complete, then it comes back with a killer drop. But like Durban-bred sound, Gqom, this new sound is something that young people can own and export to the world. Black Panther 2 here we come!

Blasting from shop store speakers, club rigs or taxis, Amapiano is the most unique and compelling dance-floor variant happening in South Africa today – a sound that is distinctively Mzansi. Although Gqom can still be heard in many DJ sets, Amapiano is a feeling, a mood, a sound, but more importantly a movement that will see new talent come into the scene and thrive for the rest of 2019.

Shine Amapiano shine!

What is Amapiano the yanos: A feeling, a lifestyle, a movement