This Amapiano that we all love so much - What exactly is it? it house, is it kwaito, is it Bacardi?

It's always a difficult thing to do, pinpointing exactly where a sound originated from, especially in a time like ours. South Africans have been debating on the origins of Amapiano since it's huge breakout last year. Die hard listeners and fans insist that it is a movement on it's own. They even have slogans like "Amapiano Is A Lifestyle", massive indeed.

However, to most people, Amapiano is just an upgrade of Deep House. Some even define it as a genre of music that utilizes the elements of Deep house and gqom. When you consider some of the very first Amapiano songs that caught out attention, tracks like Umshove by Kabza De Small, Long Lasting by JazziDisciples and Stories by Gaba Cannal you can draw a vibrant similarity with Deep House. When describing it though, the name is quite self-explanatory since the pitchy piano is the dominant instrument in most beats.

It also has a distinct jazz influence, followed by the word "haai" in most jumping tracks.

Self-proclaimed king of kwaito Arthur Mafokate has said amapiano exists because of kwaito, a revolutionary sound of its time.

"Just like trap is to hip hop, amapiano is a sub-genre to kwaito," he said.

Who Came Up With Amapiano?

Today, the most dominant names associated with amapiano include Kabza De Small & DJ Maphorisa, De Mthuda, MFR Souls, VigroDeep, Lowkeys, Leehleza, and DJ Papers. But, Mr Jazzi Q and partner Josiah De Disciple (members of JazziDisciple) claim that they are the ones who came up with the sound known as Amapiano.

The group say that they never imagined that the sound would dominate the airwaves in the manner that it has because if it's initial reception, which was predominantly negative.

Mr JazziQ began his career in 20019, and according to him Josiah De Disciple was already producing amapiano before they met, and decided to form a group.

"We realized that we were playing similar music and decided to be a duo, not only was this influenced by our profession, but the personal relationship we had with each other.

Things were simple - we just decided to combine our stage names and that's how we formed Jazzi Disciples. Together, they began producing more amapiano songs.

Two years after they founded the genre, they started gaining a lot of attention in their hometown and the neighboring townships.

Not long after, amapiano began gaining widespread popularity.

"This is when we realized that it was going places, when the people love what we do, we keep doing it at best," he said.

Amapiano "Amagrootman" Lifestyle

The ecstatic sounds of this genre have created a lifestyle usually referred to as the 'grootman lifestyle' or Ayepyep.

When you listen to an amapiano music being played, you hear unique sounds or slogans being pronounced repeatedly.

The expression ngwaneso ngwaneso was made coined by TallArseTee. Then Dimpi Dimpopo made it popular, and now everyone who identifies with amapiano uses it to express happiness.

Another example of an amagrootman slogan ise "Awuna moto, awuna Gucci, awuna cheri, ufunan' eSandton?" which loosely translates to "What are you doing in Sandton without a car, a Gucci item or a girlfriend".

The above phrase just emphasizes on the nature of the inhabitans of Sandton, who are all about partying and fun.

Adult Theme

Perhaps one of the sensitive aspects of the music is it's strong association with eroticism. This can be seen with songs like Ur Sheetee by Kabza De Small ft Moonchild Sanelly and Baby Are You Coming by Zero 12.


Another strong feature about amapiano is it's dance steps. Lindiwe Molopyane from Atteridgeville, who is Zero 12's vocalist, says it has brought a new kind of vibe to the clubs because of how it tends to influence the way people dance.

"This is a lifestyle that just allows you to be who you are. We see many people now having their colourful hair, weird attire and practice proper freedom of speech. Wherever there's a braai or a party there is a slot for amapiano."

Lindiwe Molopyane

It's no secret now that the growing popularity of Amapiano appears to have drained out life from Gqom as it's predecessor is barely struggling to remain on the airwaves, and as more producers flock towards the trend, gqom suffers a heavy decline in popularity.

I guess the growing question now will be - how long can amapiano survive?