21 amapiano songs from Nigeria, the UK, Mozambique, Namibia, Kenya and Tanzania to stream right now.
By now, it's an open secret that amapiano is being produced outside of South Africa where it originates. Nigerian producers and artists, mostly, have embraced the sound and are creating and releasing their own interpretations of amapiano and amapiano-inspired songs.
The songs have resulted in cross-cultural sounds and collaborations that, in their own way, serve to unite, celebrate and foster an exchange of the electrifying music scenes that exist throughout the continent. As a result, these fusions have seen a number people casually refer to them as "Afropiano, Afro-amapiano etc" or "gengepiano" (gengetone with amapiano).
Music has always connected the people of the continent and the diaspora beyond the cultural and language barriers that sometimes exist. As Davido sings on "I Got A Friend" (included in the list below), "All of us na one race / Anyhow we relate."
As it stands, amapiano is potentially on pace to influence a significant portion of the overall sonic landscape of some parts of the continent and penetrate further into other markets, reaching new audiences. It is already being produced in the UK, Japan, US and other countries.
Below is a list of amapiano and amapiano-infused songs made by artists from outside of South Africa, including Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Mozambique.
NB: The list below is in no particular order and only includes recently released songs and music videos.
Tunde Ednut “Jingle Bell” (featuring Davido, Tiwa Savage & Seun Kuti) (Produced by Ozedikus) [Nigeria]
Controversial Nigerian entertainer Tunde Ednut assembled superstars Davido, Tiwa Savage and Seun Kuti to give his 2011 single a facelift. Granted, he has been remaking the song over the years, but in 2020 Tunde brought in an amapiano vibe, courtesy of Ozedikus, who co-produced Rema's "Woman". Savage starts her verse with sprinkles of Zulu/Xhosa chants, "Haaa'ibo! Come here wena" and Kuti provides soothing saxophone sounds that bring greater joy to the Christmas themed record.
Olamide “Loading” (featuring Bad Boy Timz) (produced by P. Prime) [Nigeria]
Veteran rapper Olamide unleashed "Loading" off of his eleventh studio album Carpe Diem. The song has a viral dance challenge that has taken video-sharing platforms by storm. The choreographed dance routine features some zanku dance moves which may leave the listener singing, "I can't feel my legs no more," if they loop the song long enough, as Bad Boy Timz encourages in the song's hook. In our recent interview, Olamide sang P. Prime's praises, calling his sounds "otherworldly" and that the seven songs he produced on his album "sound like nothing you have heard before". The song's music video has amassed over 4.6 million views on YouTube since its release in late November. The song is also doing well on streaming platforms.
Kagwe Mungai “Chay Chay” (produced by By Kagwe Mungai) [Kenya]
"Chay Chay" epitomises the various exciting new sounds the continent keeps churning out. The self-produced song perfectly mashes-up Kenya's gengetone with amapiano resulting in a sound Mungai has coined "genge piano". Mungai, who has spent some years living in SA, revealed in an interview that he was "really deep in the amapiano wave" at the time he made the song, and was curious as to how to incorporate amapiano with Kenyan sounds.
Marioo “Mama Amina” (featuring Sho Madjozi and Bontle Smith) (produced by Tboy Daflame) [Tanzania]
Marioo's Kiswahili vocals fit perfectly on this tune. The song, produced by Sho Madjozi's frequent producer Tboy Daflame, also features South African vocalist Bontle Smith. Since its release in late November, it has topped Apple Music's Top Songs chart in Tanzania. With over 2.3 million views on YouTube, a quick run-down of the comments gives an indication that the fans want more of these types of collaborations. Last month, while performing at a show in Tanzania, Sho Madjozi brought out Marioo for a performance of the song and the crowd went crazy.
Dremo “E Be Tinz” (featuring Mayorkun) (produced by Fresh VDM) [Nigeria]
Davido Music Worldwide (DMW) signees, rapper Dremo and Mayorkun teamed up for this banging amapiano record produced by Fresh VDM who produced Mayorkun's "Of Lagos". This is the first time we hear Dremo flow on an amapiano-influenced beat, while the 'Mayor Of Lagos' has confessed his love for the genre in an interview and it appears he is gonna be riding the wave for some time.
Davido “I Got a Friend” (featuring Mayorkun, Sho Madjozi) (produced by Fresh VDM) [Nigeria]
Three out of the 17 bangers on Davido's latest album are amapiano-inspired. Davido opens the track with the lyrics, "Okay I'm here to introduce to you / A couple of my friends / And I want you guys to know who they are right now / 'Cause we type lit right now," and the last line perfectly describes the entire vibe of the song. While Madjozi begins with: "OBO na Sho Madjozi / 'Piano ke tsa ko Pitori," reminding everyone of the birthplace of amapiano, Pretoria. Throughout the song, Davido, Mayorkun and Madjozi shout out names of multiple people they consider their friends, from Davido's longtime manager Asa Asika to Tsonga disco music legend Papa Penny and the late Pop Smoke.
Niniola “Look Like Me” (produced by Shuffle Muzik) [Nigeria]
Niniola, whose breakout hit "Maradonna" was extremely popular in SA, is often dubbed the "Queen of Afro-House". Her latest album fittingly has three amapiano-infused songs and one of them features South Africa's Busiswa. The beat to "Look Like Me" was crafted by amapiano producer Shuffle Muzik from Pretoria who has worked with Niniola before and also produced "Oh Sharp" (with Busiswa) on her album. The song's comic book-inspired music video which caught the attention of Missy Elliot, sees the characters dance popular dances associated with the genre of amapiano.
A-Star “Nana Riddim” (featuring French Nana) (produced by Bobbi Zion) [United Kingdom]
Ghanaian-born, London-based musician A-Star (of Kupe dance fame), went down south to get inspiration for his recent single "Nana Riddim". The song proves to be yet another viral dance craze. A video of four ladies busting some popular South African dance moves including the "pouncing cat" and "vosho" to the song has been circulating on social media, and has even resulted in an official dance tutorial video and subsequent dance challenge. French Nana's catchy "kiti ti ti ti, kiti ti ti ti" chant is the perfect for hyping up dancers.
DJ Spuzza and AKA “Soek Soek” Remix (featuring Chester Houseprince, Don Kamati, Mega & Chakie) [Namibia]
As neighbours, Namibia and South Africa share far more than just geographical location. "Soek Soek" is one example of the many trade-offs, the original song was significantly popular in Namibia and for the remix, DJ Spuza tapped South African rapper AKA who also has been experimenting with the genre (and its distinct sounds). Some of the song's lyrics are in Afrikaans (a language spoken in both countries), while some chants are borrowed from isiZulu.
DJ Tunez and Olamide “Require” (produced by P. Prime) [Nigeria]
Nigeria's DJ Tunez has fully embraced amapiano; from releasing an amapiano EP with D3AN (Love Language Vol 1) to the pair producing the track "Lucky Star" on Busiswa's latest album, My Side Of The Story. It is then no surprise that he and producer P. Prime brought out the best out of Olamide, and had him singing beautifully on this banger. On the week of its release, the song charted on Apple Music in Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda and Kenya.
Rexxie “KPK (Ko Por Ke)” (featuring MohBad) (produced by Rexxie) [Nigeria]
Rexxie is responsible for some of Zlatan and Naira Marley's biggest hits. Since 2018, he has been producing songs that have made the zanku dance a staple in popular culture, and for his latest song, he fused his signature street pop rhythms with amapiano. The song quickly went viral and became a street anthem in Nigeria and has been enjoying chart success on various streaming platforms, reaching a milestone of 10 million combined streams. A few days before the song dropped, Rexxie tweeted "AFROPIANO 2021".
Peruzzi “Southy Love” (featuring Fireboy DML) (produced by P. Prime) [Nigeria]
Gbedu meets the log drum on Peruzzi's latest single, "Southy Love" off his upcoming Rum & Boogie album. Seeing how their DMW and YBNL bosses and label mates are jumping onto amapiano, Peruzzi and Fireboy had to also get in on the action. The two trade verses, declaring that they would do anything for love and they are going to take flight to see their love interest, whose southy love they can't get enough of. Amongst all the credits he has on this list, P. Prime is also the producer of DJ Xclusive's latest amapiano single, "Gegeti".
Falz “Squander” (featuring Niniola) (produced by Yung Willis) [Nigeria]
Falz enlists the Queen of Afro-House for his latest single, "Squander". As the queen, Niniola has proven that she can kill different types of house beats, one YouTube user even commented, "The beat itself was made for Niniola". At the beginning of the song's hook, Falz sings: "Ina kwana, ina gajiya/ Everything nmaranma/ Ka yin weta cash for squander," bragging about everything being good and him having money to squander.
Masterkraft “Hallelu” (featuring Bella Shmurda and Zlatan) (produced by Masterkraft) [Nigeria]
Veteran producer Masterkraft taps zanku progenitor Zlatan and breakout star Bella Shmurda for his latest single. "Brother, don't bother me/ Oluwa, cover me/ Whatever you wishing me/ good or bad, back to sender ni," Shmurda sings on the song's hook, while Zlatan provides his charismatic flows (and signature adlibs) in the verses. Previously, Masterkraft released an amapiano banger "Equipment", with his frequent collaborator Flavour and has been crafting 'piano beats for other artists as well, including Tekno ("Uptown Girl"), Vector ("No Worries") and Mr Dutch ("Mamasita").
L.A.X “Go Low” (produced by Clemsy) [Nigeria]
Nigerian musician L.A.X also included an amapiano vibe on his Zaza Vibes album. He and producer Clemsy worked on eight out of the 12 songs on L.A.X's album and, on "Go Low", they showed off their versatility by producing a mellow amapiano beat that is guaranteed to make the listener dance.
Zinoleesky “Kilofeshe” (produced by Niphkeys) [Nigeria]
The first word Zinoleesky utters, after the beat-drop (and producer tag), is "amapiano". Presumably, as a way of letting the listener "know the vibes" and to avoid confusion or chatter about what sound of the song is. "This amapiano sound is becoming the new wave," reads one of the many YouTube comments under the song's audio. "Kilofeshe" was the lead single to the debut EP by the burgeoning Marlian signee.
Holmes “Finally” (featuring DJ Neptune) (produced by P. Loops) [Nigeria]
In November, emerging Afro-pop musician Holmes released the follow-up to his Davido-assisted single. "Finally", which was recorded in South Africa, contains Zulu & Xhosa chants and lyrics ("mama, shesha geza… ndikhetha wena/ Ndizaku-touch(a) later... Haaayibo, hayi, yebo"), and features DJ Neptune who previously released an amapiano remix to his mega hit "Nobody" with a Focalistic guest verse.
Midas The Jagaban “Paigons” (featuring Sho Madjozi) (produced by Guilty Beatz) [United Kingdom]
Buzzing London-based, Nigerian musician Midas the Jagaban, with the help of Guilty Beatz, created this monster of a tune which finds the middle ground between Afroswing/Afrobashment and amapiano. Following the success of the singles "Come We Bill Ehh'' and "Party With A Jagaban", the mysterious mask-wearing artist released her debut EP Midas Touch in December 2020. "Paigons" features SA rapper Sho Madjozi, who seems to be getting enlisted in most of these cross-country amapiano collaborations and we love to see it.
Patoranking “Nobody” (produced by C-Tea) [Nigeria]
Seasoned musician Patoranking tapped Ghanaian-born, SA-based producer C-Tea for "Nobody" off of his third studio album Three. Some YouTube users suggest the beat is akin to the production signature style of SA amapiano producer Vigro Deep, by calling it a "Vigro Deep type beat". Patoranking delivers his infectious signature dancehall vocals, and the song blends the two genres which originate from two opposite ends of the world. Previously, the artist has flirted with SA's gqom sound via his 2017 single "Available", which was co-produced by DJ Maphorisa.
DJ Tarico “Yaba Buluku” (featuring Preck and Nelson Tivane) (produced by DJ Tarico) [Mozambique]
"Yaba Buluku" is essentially Mozambique's response to Mapara A Jazz's "John Vuli Gate"; from the chant-heavy hook (with a concealed meaning) to the similar dance and virality on TikTok. The suggestive lyrics of the song are mostly in Xitsonga, a language spoken in both Mozambique and South Africa. Yaba Buluku is lifted from DJ Tarico's Moz Piano Vol.2 album and is doing well on streaming platforms.
DJ Kaywise “High Way” (featuring Phyno) (produced by Yung Willis) [Nigeria]
Phyno raps in Igbo about living life in the fast lane on this up-tempo tune. "High Way" follows after DJ Kaywise's star-studded "What Type of Dance", and is produced by Yung Willis, who is also behind the amapiano beat on Falz's "Squander". The song is enjoying streaming success on various DSPs in Nigeria, and has topped Apple Music's Top 100: Nigeria chart.