From Kwaito to Amapiano : Mp3 Juice Serves Up SA Sounds

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Its roots lie in kwaito of the 1990s, afro house of 2000s and 2010s gqom sound popularised in Durban clubs and radio. Amapiano was initially produced by young producers working out of bedrooms using pirated software and simple plugins to mix older genres with their own ideas and slow down beats for an intimate sound that emanated from Durban townships during apartheid ekasis (or townships). Amapiano represents another chapter in South African musical legacy begun during apartheid when Black South Africans were forced out into townships for survival during apartheid’s oppressive rules ekasis (or townships), where Black South Africans lived ghettoized during apartheid.

African artists are showing the world that our music is vibrant and alive! From dance floor slayers to heartbreaking big ballads, sultry R&B to bubblegum pop perfection and everything in between, these African artists are showing that African music can truly change lives.


South Africa’s township music has taken the world by storm. Amapiano, born from Pretoria and Johannesburg suburbs in Gauteng Province, is an innovative blend of dance and electronic music celebrating Gauteng city life – both its grit and soul as well as an ever-evolving sound that is both rhythmic and melodic. Drawing upon traditions but always looking ahead, Amapiano blends styles such as Afro house, Deep house, Tech house Jazz folk folk among others while always embodying Africa’s young generations spirit!

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Vigro Deep, 19, hailing from Pretoria is among the leading figures of South African electronic music that has reached international audiences. He outlines its appeal:

Amapiano combines traditional South African township music, with its rhythmic and upbeat elements, with contemporary dance music’s melodies. He says Amapiano also takes influence from rap and pop music as well as Afrobeat’s upbeat anthems for an inclusive dance music that appeals universally.

Amapiano has quickly become an international sensation thanks to social media, with fans in the US, Europe and beyond tuning into its infectious tunes. Spotify is proud to honor this movement through an original documentary – “Music That Moves” — that features artists inspired by this style from both within South Africa and outside as well as their mentors; an intimate and revealing look at a growing musical movement which is altering SA music forever and can now be found both Netflix and Spotify.


Kwaito music has quickly become one of the most beloved styles in South Africa since it first made an appearance just after apartheid ended, often associated with Black culture. Kwaito combines hip hop, dancehall and traditional African rhythms into an energetic, infectious blend known as Kwaito; drawing upon influences such as Jamaican reggae and UK grime from international genres as well as Jamaican reggae and UK grime influences for inspiration. Lyrically it often touches upon issues related to violence against minorities against minorities or HIV awareness while its infectious beats bring an element of fun sexiness into music scene that cannot be found elsewhere.

One of the most prominent kwaito artists are MCs and producers like Zola and Mandoza who have gone on to become major pop stars; others have found success through talent shows like Jam Alley or TS which introduced new audiences to kwaito music and its artists. Many kwaito artists have also established their own record labels to produce their work and give Black musicians a voice within the music industry as they break away from white-owned record companies.

Similar to Miriam Makeba and Brenda Fassie from previous generations of South African musicians, this new music was deliberately nonpolitical in order to make it more approachable to a wide audience and avoid racism or chauvinism prevalent among prior generations of South African artists. Furthermore, this move marked a rejection of an American model of Blackness which had dominated its predecessor generation.

Kwaito music emerged after apartheid ended, when Black musicians formed record labels and produced music on their own. Kwaito draws upon many styles such as mbaqanga and dancehall while being heavily influenced by disco and house. Kwaito represents rebellion with elements of chaos similar to what anti-apartheid activists preached against in the 1980s.

Kwaito music and culture has long been part of Black South African life since its roots began during apartheid times. Kwaito can be defined as both genre and lifestyle for Black South Africans alike. Kwaito transcends musical genre, representing fashion and vernacula. Kwaito serves as an expression of self-expression which mirrors urban living conditions of post-Apartheid South Africa.


Afrobeats has once again returned to the forefront of global musical trends with its popularity in the US. From Grammy awards and viral dance challenges to sold-out arena shows, Afrobeats has taken hold on the global stage as a genre and provided artists with a platform to address and critique power dynamics affecting African societies; additionally it has created new avenues for collaboration among global musicians.

Afrobeats’ inclusion at awards shows has been an immense step for the genre, helping establish it as its own musical movement and competing against global artists such as Bad Bunny. Afrobeats also brings back African culture into Western musical consciousness and revitalizes it within contemporary popular culture.

Africans living abroad have taken to Afrobeats with great gusto, using it as an important way of connecting back home. Afrobeats’ success also sends an important message about African culture to younger generations of Africans who now grow up surrounded by Afrobeats as part of everyday life.

Afrobeats music is an eclectic style fusing elements from various genres into one sound, which has become immensely popular worldwide. Some key characteristics include its signature rattling basslines, hypnotic piano solos, and heartwarming harmonies – sounds which have since inspired hip-hop, R&B, and dancehall genres alike.

South Africa has long been one of the driving forces behind Afrobeats music. With an incredible variety of musical styles ranging from blues, jazz, and irresistibly catchy Zulu rhythms; South Africa is home to some of the greatest Afrobeats artists such as Prince Kaybee, Master KG, Black Coffee, and DJ Cleo.

Afrobeat artists frequently use their music to raise awareness of issues facing Africa. From political to social concerns, this information often finds expression through song lyrics; for instance, Jerusalema by Master KG explores Israel-Palestine relations.

Although Afrobeats is an amalgam genre, some artists remain wary of calling it that. Burna Boy argued that grouping together different genres such as hip-hop, R&B, and Afrobeats into “Afrobeats” does not do justice to this musical form.


if the name DJ Maphorisa is unfamiliar to you, take note. He represents Amapiano music with his unique blend of Afro-soul. Produced and written hits that get radio airplay in both the US and elsewhere; rapper as well. Since 2005 he’s been part of the music scene.

Phiona Okumu, Head of Music for sub-Saharan Africa at Spotify has noted that Amapiano no longer only enjoys popularity within South Africa – it is now making waves globally! She attributes this rise to artists like Master KG’s Jerusalema with over 500 Million YouTube views as the driving force.

Mogwai, who has been active on the music scene for over 15 years and believes more women should have control over their projects if they wish to succeed within this industry. Despite Amapiano’s growth, more should be done in terms of equal opportunities for female artists in music. According to Mogwai.

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