South African producer and deejay duo Major League DJz are some of the country’s established artists who have pivoted to the popular amapiano sound.
Recently, in an interview with DJ Cuppy in her Apple Music radio show Africa Now, the duo shared their reasoning for the switch to the popular house music subgenre:
“It was a bit worrying, but we basically knew what we were trying to do. You know, dance is a very big genre in Africa and the world alone. So, moving into that space wasn’t that hard, but we just had to tell the fans like, ‘This is how we’re moving.’ And now, and this is how we make touring.”
The duo also shared their views on the possible future of amapiano.
“It’s going to have a lot of sub-genres in all of piano,” they said. “It’s already having sub-genres, just like Kwaito piano, there’s like deep house piano, there’s tech-piano already. There is afro-piano and there’s soulful piano. So like [our song] “Dinaledi” is soulful piano. And there’s kwaito, kwaito, kwaito, African kwaito piano. So yeah, so it’s probably going to grow. There’s going to be afro-beat piano, you know? So, you just need to let the genre grow, that’s part of growth.”
All the subgenres they mentioned already exist. Amapiano basslines are lifted from kwaito and artists from outside South Africa have already adopted the genre and are incorporating it into their music. Portmanteaus such as Afro-piano, gengepiano (gengetone and amapiano) are already being used by artists from Nigeria and Tanzania respectively. More about that here.
The duo also broke down the meaning of their latest EP What’s The Levol? (2020). “‘What’s the levol?’ is a slang that you have in South Africa. Like, ‘What are we on about right now?” So at one point, snakes returning in South Africa. People are using snakes for muti and all those things,” said the duo, and further adding:
“‘What’s the Levol?’ is the energy we wanted to have in summer, it was a festive EP. So, it’s more street anthems than songs like “Dinaledi”, more chanting anthems on that EP. It’s not very musical like Piano Chill. So that was the theme around it.”
Listen to the full episode of Africa Now as heard on Sunday’s live broadcast on Apple Music.
Read our coverage of amapiano here.