The streets of South Africa have been pulsing with the sound of Amapiano for years, despite the dance challenges that are currently taking TikTok by storm. Amapiano is a distinctive and fascinating musical style that developed in South Africa’s townships. It fuses traditional African music with contemporary electronic beats.

Amapiano can be compared to the love child of the deep South African House and traditional tribal traditions. The genre has dominated the charts and the airwaves and has won over listeners globally whilst launching a new generation of South African artists onto the international music scene.

The rise of South African music from the township to the global stage demonstrates the country’s rich musical heritage, cultural diversity, and resilience in the face of adversity. As the country evolves and grows, music will undoubtedly continue to play an important role in shaping its cultural identity and connecting it to the rest of the world.

The rise of Amapiano has been one of the most significant trends in South African music in recent years. It has grown and become more popular, with many artists experimenting with new sounds and styles within the genre.

Outside of South Africa, the genre is gaining popularity, especially in other African nations and in the United Kingdom, where it is getting airplay on popular radio stations. This suggests that it has the potential to establish itself as a genre with international appeal.

One of the most important factors in the rise of South African music is the increasing globalization of the music industry. South African artists have been able to connect with audiences globally through the Internet, social media, international tours and collaborations with other artists. This has raised the profile of South African music and introduced it to new audiences.

DJ Maphorisa and Kabza De Small, South African Amapiano artists.
DJ Maphorisa and Kabza De Small, South African Amapiano artists.

There are many talented South African artists who have made significant contributions to the Amapiano genre. Some of the most popular indigenous artists are; Kabza De Small, DJ Maphorisa, Sha Sha, Major League DJz, Focalistic, Musa Keys, Vigro Deep, and Focalistic, among others.

On the global diaspora stage, Zimbabwean-born vocalist Sha Sha won ‘Best New International Act’ at the 2020 BET Awards, alongside Maphorisa and De Small. More so, the Rainbow Nation’s melodic sounds, accompanied by native clicks and accents, provide the stamp to certify a South African artist—kudos to Sho Madjozi and her viral song “John Cena.”

Most recently, Master KG’s -Jerusalema, released late last year, sparked the TikTok trend ‘#Jerusalemachallenge,’ bolstering its market strategy for a global audience in 2020. As powerful and catchy as the song is, it set a new record in September as Shazam’s most searched-for song.

Music operations manager at TikTok South Africa, Yuvir Pillay, notes that Amapiano is the country’s biggest musical genre on TikTok saying. “We noticed a lot of our youths at the end of 2019 starting to use Amapiano music to create their food videos, their dance videos, their fashion videos, memes. And we really saw people embracing the genre and wanting to engage with it. We haven’t seen a local music genre take over a platform in this kind of huge escalation in a very long time,” said Pillay.

Amapiano has drawn artists from other genres and nationalities, including Nigerian electro-fusion singer Wurld, who has begun dabbling in the genre outside of South Africa. Before artists like Wurld entered the picture, Davido, the Nigerian Afrobeats superstar, had jumped on the beat, collaborating with South Africa’s Amapiano superstar, Focalistic, to create a hit song in Nigeria. Focalistic recounted how he and Davido met four years ago during a South African tour, and their collaboration on the song was a spiritually driven experience.

In terms of collaborations outside the continent, artists such as DJ Maphorisa and Kabza De Small have collaborated with international artists such as Drake, Alicia Keys, and Ed Sheeran. That has brought the genre to a wider global audience and established it as a significant player in the global music industry.

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