AFROPIANO: NIGERIA’S NEW SOUND INSPIRED BY AMAPIANO

Words by: Blossom Maduafokwa

Although birthed in South Africa, Amapiano is now being adapted into Afropiano most notably by Nigeria.

With the world’s year-long captivation with Master KG and Nomcebo Zikode’s “Jerusalema”, it is definitely not revolutionary to say that Amapiano – a brand of house music springing from South Africa’s townships – has firmly claimed its place in airwaves throughout the globe, and specifically, in Nigeria. 

Since the song’s release and Burna Boy’s elite remix of the hit, Nigerian artists have only increased their connections with South Africa’s music and artists. Many Afrobeats artists – like Mayorkun on “Of Lagos” or Rema on “Woman” – slowly began adopting South African House beats to their Afrobeats standards. However, what started as the sporadic use of the Amapiano sound suddenly became an industry standard and a musical necessity practically overnight.

Of course, there have always been Nigerian House artists – Niniola the “Queen of Afro-House” being a prime example – but there has never before been a Nigerian House movement. There is certainly a Nigerian House movement now, where Nigerian artists are adopting Amapiano so quickly that their listeners can hardly keep up. DaVido’s most recent project A Better Time featured two Amapiano tracks (“LaLa” and “I’ve Got a Friend”) when he had never released any before, and infamous Igbo rapper Phyno has shaken the nation with his smooth Amapiano tracks “Highway” and “Egbon”.

Even Olamide and Bad Boy Timz, unbeknownst to many, featured Amapiano elements along with traditional street rhythms on their hit song “Loading”. Having an Amapiano track on your album as an Afrobeats artist is quickly becoming as much of an expectation as having a Street, Bashment, or Trap tune. Collaborations between Nigerian and South African artists are also increasing quicker than anyone can count. Some essential ones being Midas the Jagaban and Sho Madjozi’s “Paigons”, Naira Marley and Busiswa’s “Coming”, and arguably most famously, Davido, Focalistic, and Virgo Deep’s “Ke Star Remix”.

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It’s very clear that Afropiano – Afrobeats and Amapiano meshed – is on the rise. Afropiano is also certainly not a short-term movement – a Sho Madjozi Remix of Rexxie and Mohbad’s “KPK” is on the way as well as another upcoming track between Davido and Focalisitc. The birth of the genre, above everything, is a refreshing sign, showing the world the pure influence of South African street music as well as the power (and necessity) of music collaborations throughout the continent. 

Here’s a complete Nigerian Amapiano Playlist.

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