Nigeria: Amapiano – Unifying Force of Collaborative Music
Music has long been a unifying force that transcends cultures, borders, and languages. Amapiano, a genre that has captivated millions around the world, is no exception. Originating in the townships of South Africa, Amapiano’s distinct blend of house, jazz, and African rhythms has crossed age, race, and nationality boundaries.
What sets Amapiano apart from other genres is its collaborative power. This was a recurring theme during the four-day Spotify Amapiano Tour in South Africa. The tour took a select group of journalists and creators through the streets of Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Soweto to learn about the origins and intricacies of the music genre. Amapiano has put South Africa on the world map, mesmerizing millions with its catchy groove.
Amapiano welcomes collaboration and inclusivity, providing a platform for up-and-coming artists to showcase their creativity and talent. Johannesburg rising artist Young Stunna, who transitioned from hip-hop to Amapiano, spoke about the genre’s impact and reach during a fireside chat with Spotify’s Sub-Saharan Africa Head of Music, Phiona Okumu. According to Stunna, the genre is not limiting and shares some similarities with hip-hop, making his segue into the music genre seamless. Since his transition, Stunna’s fame has skyrocketed, making him the fourth most streamed artist in South Africa on Spotify last year.
Amapiano has also attracted artists from other genres and nationalities, such as Nigerian electro-fusion singer Wurld, who has begun experimenting with the genre. During a visit to a recording studio, the legendary father of Amapiano, DJ Maphorisa, and Wurld produced an Amapiano song on the spot. Their ability to seamlessly blend their talents and create something new and exciting in front of a live audience was magical.
Before Wurld’s involvement, Nigerian Afrobeats superstar Davido had already collaborated with South Africa’s Amapiano superstar Focalistic to create a number one hit in Nigeria. Focalistic described how he and Davido met four years ago during a South African tour and how their collaboration on the song was a spiritually driven experience.
Amapiano’s inclusive spirit extends beyond its music to celebrate diversity and provide a platform for artists from different backgrounds to showcase their talents. Kamo Mphela, a dancer and Amapiano singer from Soweto, is a testament to this. Mphela discovered Amapiano through her dance circles, where the genre’s frenetic beats and catchy melodies perfectly complemented her moves. “I didn’t choose Amapiano, Amapiano chose me,” she said.
Amapiano is changing the face of music in South Africa and beyond by providing a platform for up-and-coming artists and celebrating diversity and inclusivity. As Focalistic, one of the genre’s superstars, said, “It’s years and years of understanding; it’s just dancing music, your culture, and how your words add to a dance beat. It’s been a crazy journey.”