The Best Amapiano Songs of 2022
Featuring Kabza de Small, DJ Maphorisa, Sam Deep, Uncle Waffles, DBN Gogo, Focalistic, Mellow & Sleazy and many more.
2022 was a triumphant year for amapiano. The genre continued its steady bolster into other markets across the globe. Its stars toured the world, playing and selling out the biggest shows. Back home, amapiano continued to morph into different iterations like the bacardi-tinged and “Mozambique” or “France” styles, birthing new stars and changing lives, sometimes almost overnight. Its dominance in the rest of the continent grew further and it influenced the contemporary sounds of popular music.
While TikTok and viral dance challenges have been impactful in amapiano’s global ascendance since 2020, this year the platform and practice completely ruled within the scene. At times, these felt like a right of passage to a potential hit. And as a result, some producers created songs to fit the TikTok snippet format or used a dance routine to help push a song, which didn’t land well with some purists and detractors.
Some songs, however, still managed to transcend beyond the short-form video platform, using it to amplify their reach and replicate what was happening in the streets. These undeniable and inescapable hit songs were rocking in the streets, clubs, radio, TV, streaming services, and anywhere with a sound system, for the most part of the year.
Check out our picks for The Best Amapiano Songs of 2022 below.
Kabza De Small ‘Khusela’ feat. Msaki
Super producer Kabza De Small returned with the sequel of his seminal album I Am The King Of Amapiano: Sweet & Dust. “Khusela” serves as the intro to Kabza’s highly spiritual project KOA II Part 1. Msaki’s voice and messages sound almost angelic on the laid-back Kabza instrumental. In the track, the talented singer/songwriter pleads with the Lord to keep his kids safe and protect them at all times.
Sao Mattrix x Mashudu ‘Mina Nawe’ feat. Happy Jazzman & Emotionz DJ
After his collaborative efforts with DJ Maphorisa and Emotionz DJ, producer Sao Mattrix put the focus back on his solo work with the release of “Mina Nawe.” The soulful song features emerging vocalist Mashudu as well as Happy Jazzman and frequent collaborator Emotionz DJ, who all poured their hearts into the track. A slow burner, “Mina Nawe” steadily grew to top the charts on DSPs.
Sam Deep x Playgal 'Kusezo Khanya' ft. De Mthuda, Babalwa M & Sipho Magudulela
De Mthuda and his affiliates and artists signed to his Ace Of Spade imprint have been consistently dropping music since March. In early April, Sam Deep alongside Playgal released “Kusezo Khanya” with De Mthuda, vocalist Babalwa M and guitarist Sipho Magudulela. The song went on to be streamed millions of times and made Sam Deep one of the most exciting producers of the year.
Gaba Cannal & George Lesley ‘Healer Ntliziyo Yam’ ft. Russel Zuma
Amapiano pioneer Gaba Cannal and deep house maestro George Lesley teamed up for the soulful tune “Healer Ntliziyo Yam”. The track features the heartfelt vocals of rising singer/songwriter Russel Zuma. While having been in the music industry for about a decade, “Healer Ntliziyo Yam” brought Gaba Cannal to the fore and made casual listeners take notice.
9umba, TOSS & Mdoovar 'uMlando' ft. Sir Trill, Sino Msolo, Lady Du, Young Stunna & Slade
The hook “namhla senz’ umlando” (which loosely translates to ‘today, we’re making history’), along with its accompanying dance, which involves thrusting your hips side to side, has been one of the biggest cultural moments of 2022. After the initial dance video clip went viral, it sparked a social media challenge and stars like Lady Du, Young Stunna, Sir Trill, and Sino Msolo jumped on the track. The platinum-selling hit has elevated the careers of producers 9umba, Mdoovar, and vocalist Toss, and also received visual treatment for the fans to enjoy.
Konke x Musa Keys ‘Kancane’ feat. Chley & Nkulee501 & Skroef28
Musa Keys’ star power continues to ascend. On “Kancane” he introduces Konke, who shows up with his soothing vocals alongside another emerging vocalist Chley. Musa Keys has been developing young stars under his own independent label Tayo Projects. The song is co-produced by PianoHub duo Nkulee501 and Skroef28.
DBN Gogo x TNK MusiQ x Dj Stopper 'Bells' feat. EltonK SA
DBN Gogo continued her hot streak by teaming up with emerging talent in TNK MusiQ, Eltonk SA, and DJ Stopper for “Bells.” The song followed after “Babmbela” and became the second official release under her label, Zikode Records. With a proven impeccable ear for bangers, Gogo has a knack for providing a platform for emerging talents, and “Bells” showcases the DJ’s prowess. The banging instrumental even prompted Ch’cco to jump on it, and that unofficial remix has been a hit of its own—extending the life of the original even further.
Uncle Waffles x Tony Duardo 'Tanzania' ft. Sino Msolo & Boibizza
DJ and viral internet sensation Uncle Waffles released her highly-anticipated debut single “Tanzania.” Since her viral moment, Waffles has been a constant topic on social media and she has capitalised on the hype by putting out her own music. “Tanzania,” which gets its name from an underground party that was popular during the lockdown, catapulted Waffles’ star power to greater heights and has solidified her as more than just an eclectic DJ.
Sam Deep x MaWhoo ‘Thokoza’
After the astounding success of his Babalwa M-assisted hit single “Kusezo Khanya,” producer/DJ Sam Deep unleashed yet another soulful, mid-tempo piano thumper “Thokoza”. The spiritual-leaning track is named after the ancestral salutation and acknowledgment ‘Thokoza’, with MaWhoo’s vocals permeating the message.
Daliwonga 'Abo Mvelo' ft. Mellow & Sleazy & M.J
Vocalist Daliwonga connected with M.J and producer duo Mellow & Sleazy on the smash hit, “Abo Mvelo.” The song went viral before its official release, which prompted its name change and subsequent drop. On “Abo Mvelo,” Daliwonga subtly interpolates the refrain of Trompies and Lebo Mathosa’s 2005 song “Magasman,” which invoked a sense of nostalgia for the listeners and created an instant connection to the song.
DJ Maphorisa & Visca ‘Ba Straata’ feat. 2woshort, Stompiiey, ShaunMusiq, Fteearse & Madumane
DJ Maphorisa ushered the new generation of the amapiano’s next superstars on his blaring single with producer/DJ and New Money Gang signee Visca. “Ba Straata” features explosive vocalists 2woshort and Stompiiey and is co-produced by the duo ShaunMusiq and Fteearse. The song is the title track to Maphorisa and Visca’s collaborative project, and like most viral tracks has sparked a dance challenge that’s popular on TikTok and in clubs.
Pabi Cooper x Focalistic x Ch’cco 'Banyana Ke Bafana' ft. Luu DaDeejay & Nobantu Vilakazi
This year Pabi Cooper joined forces with Focalistic and Ch’cco for her smash single “Banyana Ke Bafana." The now platinum-selling song was the first official release under Pabi’s independent label, Cooper Entertainment. The captivating vocalist has figured out a way of making her songs trend on TikTok by teasing and/or creating dance challenges/routines for them and “Banyana Ke Bafana” proved that, yet again.
Mac G x Sir Trill ‘Nkantini’ feat. Bailey & Emjaykeyz
Controversial podcast host Mac G shared the joint “Nkantini” alongside Sir Trill. The track, which has vocalisbt Bailey and Emjaykeyz as guest features, was the first single off Mac G’s comically titled EP Songs I Put My Name On—a mock at some artists who masquerade as producers by taking songs crafted by other people.
Felo Le Tee x Toss ‘Manca’
Talented producer/DJ Felo Le Tee released his sophomore amapiano EP, Contagious. One of the standouts from the project is the Toss-assisted “Manca.” On the song, Toss encourages the listeners to let loose and groove. In true Toss fashion, the song is accompanied by its own dedicated dance which has been a fan favourite at events and clubs. The track has sparked the two to work on another hit called “Ncebeleka,” which follows on the same let loose and groove ethos.
Kabza De Small 'Ziwa Ngale' feat. DJ Tira, Young Stunna, Dladla Mshunqisi, Felo Le Tee, Beast and DJ Exit_sa
Before releasing his highly anticipated sophomore King Of Amapiano (KOA), Kabza De Small unleashed a 4-track EP. In the title track “Ziwa Ngale,” he taps DJ Tira, Young Stunna, Dladla Mshunqisi, Felo Le Tee, Beast, and DJ Exit_sa for an explosive posse cut that seamlessly blends elements of amapiano and gqom. Dladla Mshunqisi’s charismatic chants made this song a hit both in SA and abroad.
Reece Madlisa & Zuma ‘Megalo’ feat. Spura & Classic Deep
After the astounding success of their multi-platinum selling hit “Iy’ntsimbi ZaseEnvy,” Reece Madlisa & Zuma followed up with “Megalo.” In the song, the duo sings about the popular restaurant and hangout spot Megalo, located in the heart of Alexandra township where they hail from.9umba, TOSS & Mdoovar 'uMlando' ft. Sir Trill, Sino Msolo, Lady Du, Young Stunna & Slade.
Mellow & Sleazy x Justin99 'Chipi ke Chipi'
Between releasing their own and producing bangers for others, Mellow & Sleazy were on an incredible run this past year. Their EPs, Kwa Kwa, Midnight in Sunnyside, and Barcadi Fest are less than ten months apart. “Chipi ke Chipi” is a standout track from their sophomore project. The hearth-thriving instrumental track remains a mainstay in many DJ sets.
Njelic x Thabza Tee ‘Down The Drain’
Vocalist/DJ Njelic finally released his highly anticipated single “Down The Drain.” The thunderous bass line and log drum-driven song is produced by Thabza Tee, who made a name for himself after working on uLazi’s “Gijima.” Njelic’s enigmatic live DJ sets made the track viral even before its official drop, and it became an instant fan favorite.
Jay Music ‘The Fxckin Injury’ feat. Mellow & Sleazy and DJ Sol K
Burgeoning acts Jay Music and DJ Sol K joined forces with the blazing-hot Mellow & Sleazy for an explosive collaboration titled “The Fxckin Injury.” Everything Mellow & Sleazy touched turned to gold this year and this song continues on that streak. The Gqeberha-based Jay Music has been slowly pioneering his gqom and EDM-tinged iteration of amapiano, which he has coined “deep groove ‘piano.”
Focalistic, Mellow and Sleazy & M.J 'SJEPA'
Focalistic taps producers Mellow & Sleazy and M.J for his new single “Sjepa.” True to the amapiano’s essence, the Pretorian natives pay homage and reignite the sjepa dance culture that was previously popular in their hometown and Johannesburg. The globe-trotting figurehead recently shared his highly impressive debut album Ghetto Gospel with the world, with standouts being “Tabela Hape,” “Tsela Tse Nyane,” “Dipuo,” and many others.
Myztro, ShaaunMusiq & Ftears ‘Tobetsa Remake’ feat. Focalistic and Daliwonga
New Money Gang signees Myztro, ShaunMusiq, and Ftears gave the 2000s hit “Tobetsa” a modern piano twist on their single of the same name. Initially released as just an instrumental, the remake has received vocal treatment from Focalistic and Daliwonga.
Ch'cco, Focalistic & Mellow & Sleazy - Pele Pele (Official Video)
A year since his breakout single “Nkao Tempela,” vocalist Ch’cco unleashed a new single “Pele Pele,” tapping Mellow & Sleazy again. The hit track also has a guest appearance from Focalistic, who Ch’cco has been working closely with recently. In the track, the two chronicle a beautiful lady—likening her hotness to a hot chili—that lives a luxurious lifestyle.
Deep London x Boohle ‘Hamba Wena’
A TikTok favorite, thanks to a trendy choreography that gained momentum on the platform. “Hamba Wena” is Deep London’s breakthrough into the mainstream, and ushering him are the soaring Boohle vocals.
Costa Titch ‘Big Flexa’ feat. C'buda M, Alfa Kat, Banaba Des, Sdida & Man T
Rapper Costa Titch caught one with “Big Flexa.” The song catapulted the artist into continental reach and he has been touring since it dropped. He has also capitalised on the song’s success by doing pan-African features, some (Diamond Platnumz, Pheelz, and Ycee) which appear on his recently dropped album titled, Mr Big Flexa.
Abidoza “Diamond Walk” feat. Cassper Nyovest & DJ Sumbody
Having almost produced all the songs on Cassper Nyovest’s latest album, Abidoza reached out to the versatile rapper for his own track “Diamond Walk”. On the song, Cassper raps about the finer things in life, shouting out brands like Gucci, LV, and the South African-produced Drip. “Diamond Walk” is a single taken from Abidoza’s impressive album Black Child (It’s Possible). Also featured on the song is the late DJ Sumbody, who was tragically gunned down in November.
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