How Amapiano became a Nigerian thing: The house music genre known as “Amapiano” first appeared in South Africa in 2012. Synths and broad percussive basslines distinguish this deep house, jazz, and lounge fusion.
Amapiano is a fusion of several musical styles, including jazz-influenced piano/synth lines, local South African house music that dominated the airwaves in the 1990s, traditional drumming, and Kwaito.
Legendary producer and pioneer of Kwaito, Oskido, claims that Amapiano has ties to Kwaito music. He observes that the sound is fundamentally similar to Kwaito’s slowed-down dance music beats in the BBC documentary This Is Amapiano.
As Amapiano gained popularity, musicians like DJ Maphorisa and Kabza De Small helped the genre spread outside of South Africa and into other parts of the world. Featuring Wizkid and Burna Boy, the Amapiano track Sponono was released in 2020 by DJ Maphorisa and Kabza De Small. In 2020, Wizkid appeared on Kabza De Smalls Need You Tonight, while in 2021, Davido and Focalistic worked together to remake Ke Star, their joint hit from the previous year. Amapiano has lost some of its aspect of preparation since it first appeared in Nigeria, trading in its protracted, dramatic, and melodic intros for the swift delivery of contagious lyrics accompanied by wood drums. The modified Amapiano/Omopiano wave is currently the in-genre on the Nigerian scene thanks to the efforts of several Nigerian musicians.
While Amapiano’s entrance into the Nigerian music scene started in late 2019 or early 2020, house music interpolations have been around ever since. In 2017, Ninola, whose sound she defines as Afro-house, tried her hand at house music with the Sarz-produced smash tune Maradona. The singer explained how Afro-house allows her to be more adventurous and made it clear that her sound is not necessarily Amapiano in a recent interview with Cool FM.
Mister MayD once asserted that Amapiano was first heard in the Nigerian music landscape, using his 2017 duet with Oskido Get Down as proof after Wizkid and Davdo’s supporters claimed their favorite artists were responsible for the genre’s introduction. Insisting that he started the partnerships between South African and Nigerian artists, MayD claims that he was in charge of more than only Amapiano’s arrival in Nigeria. Mayorkun was included as well, despite his notable lack of participation during the discussion. According to fans, he used the Amapiano sound on his 2020 hit song Of Lagos.