Amapiano Goes Global How The Sound of South Africa is Taking Over the World

by Marcus Adetola

14th March, 2023

Amapiano Goes Global How the Sound of South Africa is Taking Over the World

Over the past few years, a new music genre has been quietly taking over the dance floors of South Africa. Known as Amapiano, this genre has become one of the country’s most popular musical exports, thanks to its unique blend of House, Jazz, and Kwaito sounds. However, Amapiano’s influence is no longer limited to South Africa. In recent years, the genre has been making waves globally, from clubs in London to festivals in the United States. With artists like Kabza De Small, DJ Maphorisa, and Focalistic leading the charge, Amapiano has become a global phenomenon, captivating audiences with its infectious rhythms and soulful melodies. In this article, we will explore the rise of Amapiano on the world stage, looking at its roots, sound, and impact on the broader music industry. We will examine the recent surge in popularity of Amapiano outside of South Africa and explore what makes this genre so special.

The Roots of Amapiano

Amapiano may be the new kid on the block in the global music scene, but its roots run deep within the diverse cultural fabric of South Africa. The genre emerged in the early 2010s as a fusion of several established sounds like Kwaito, Deep House, and Jazz, each with its unique cultural heritage. However, Amapiano is more than just the sum of its parts; it’s a reflection of South Africa’s complex musical landscape, where artists have always pushed the boundaries of genre and style.

At its core, Amapiano is a product of the townships of South Africa, where musicians would gather and experiment with new sounds in informal settings like backyard parties and underground clubs. In these spaces, musical traditions were combined and reimagined, creating a vibrant and dynamic scene that evolved in response to the needs and desires of its audience.

But Amapiano’s roots go beyond the confines of the township. The genre also reflects the broader cultural influences that have shaped South African music over the years. From the jazz-infused rhythms of the Sophiatown era to the electronic beats of the post-apartheid dance scene, Amapiano draws from a rich tapestry of sounds and styles.

Overall, Amapiano’s roots are as diverse and multifaceted as the country that gave birth to it. It’s a testament to the ingenuity and creativity of South African musicians, who continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible in music.

Amapiano’s Innovative Sound

If you like house, jazz, or kwaito, then Amapiano is the genre you need to be listening to right now. Combining the best of these musical worlds, Amapiano is a musical feast for the ears, serving up complex rhythms, soulful melodies, and infectious beats that get your body moving.

At the heart of Amapiano’s innovative sound is its unique fusion of different musical styles. The genre takes the driving rhythms and percussive beats of kwaito, and adds a jazz-infused melodic layer reminiscent of classic house. But Amapiano is more than just a simple mash-up of these genres; it’s a musical style that’s constantly evolving and diversifying.

One of the most exciting aspects of Amapiano is its ability to incorporate new sounds and influences over time. As the genre has gained popularity, musicians have been experimenting with different musical elements, adding new textures and tones to the Amapiano sound. From Afrobeat-inspired rhythms to the futuristic sounds of electronic dance music, Amapiano is a genre that continues pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in music.

It is a reflection of the creative spirit of South African musicians. It’s a genre constantly evolving and adapting to new musical influences while rooted in the rich cultural heritage of the country that gave birth to it. 

The Rise of Amapiano on the Global Stage

But how did this genre, once confined to the underground clubs of South Africa, gain such popularity on the global stage? The answer lies in the power of social media and digital streaming platforms.

As Amapiano artists began to share their music on platforms like SoundCloud and YouTube, global fans started to take notice. And social media allowed artists to connect with new audiences and build a following outside of South Africa. And as the popularity of Amapiano continued to grow, major streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music started to take notice, adding Amapiano playlists and radio stations to their platforms.

But it’s not just social media and streaming platforms that have helped to spread the Amapiano sound. Popular music publications and radio stations have also helped introduce Amapiano to new audiences and give the genre the recognition it deserves.

Amapiano’s Impact on Global Music

One of the most significant impacts of Amapiano on the broader music industry has been its ability to break down musical barriers and connect artists from different backgrounds. As the genre has gained popularity, it’s brought together musicians from all over the world, encouraging collaboration and cross-pollination between different musical styles. It has led to exciting new hybrid genres, such as the fusion of Amapiano and Afrobeat, which has become a popular sound in countries like Nigeria and Ghana.

Established artists have also been inspired by the genre, incorporating elements of Amapiano into their music, creating a distinctly modern and fresh sound.

In addition to its influence on other genres and artists, Amapiano has also had a significant impact on the global music industry as a whole. The genre’s success has challenged traditional notions of what constitutes popular music, opening space for new and innovative sounds to take center stage.


In the future, there’s no doubt that Amapiano will continue to grow and evolve on the global stage. With new and established artists incorporating elements of Amapiano into their music, the genre is poised to continue shaping the direction of popular music for years to come. And as the world becomes more connected and the barriers between different cultures continue to break down, we can expect Amapiano to play an even greater role in shaping the sound of popular music around the world. It is more than just a musical genre; it’s a cultural phenomenon, changing our ideas about music. And, we can’t wait to see where Amapiano goes next.

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