The Nigerian music industry is adept at lending, repurposing, and popularizing influences from other cultures. Nigerian artists such as Asake, Burna Boy, and Omah Lay, among others, are now proving they can do the same with Amapiano.
They have this year gone from creating alternative remixes of their existing records to latching on to the South African phenomenon for major releases that are drawing global attention.
“From Afrobeats superstars like Burna Boy, alté tastemakers like Teezee or the Queen of Afro-House Niniola, Nigerian artists have taken the amapiano log-drum and shaker for a West African twist on the genre,” writes Pan African Music reporter Tochi Louis.
The Pan African Music publication has highlighted some of the hottest releases that we would like to draw to your attention:
March 28th, 2022
Asake’s sound is less-conventional Afrobeats and more like a stir of fuji, street, and some amapiano. “Sungba”, meaning “lie flat” in Yoruba, has an oddly-appealing sexual undertone, with a hint of egotism about his musical know-how and financial stamina. The record took off on social media before snowballing into a national hit that would interest Burna Boy enough to jump on the remix.
July 21st, 2022
July 21st, 2022
Niniola is an early adopter of amapiano before its mainstream appeal in Nigeria and “Want” is a testament to their ongoing affair. Here, she takes a break from Sarz, her usual collaborator, to explore possibilities with the amapiano duo, S,meez, and D3an. In her words, “everybody knows I love to sing and dance, and as the Queen of Afro-house, I must always keep you on the dance floor.”
“Do Me Jeje” feat. Knucks
March 23rd, 2022
On the brink of staking his claim as a soloist, Teezee enlists West London rapper Knucks for the anthemic number, “Do Me Jeje”. The record sees the alté sensation explore an unfamiliar range typified by the heavy log drums and bouncy instrumentation of Knucks. “Do Me Jeje” is off Teezee’s debut project, Arrested by Love, where he dons his duality as a singer and rapper, having experienced life between Lagos and London.
April 29th, 2022
Skales is known for his tingly-felt deliveries, which he furthers with “Kpakurukpa”, a record off his album Sweet Distractions. The record is an instance of ‘afrobeat meets amapiano’ and amplifies the singer’s will to always have a good time regardless. He drives home this resolve with a quotable like “don’t take this life too seriously, hit the floor make we dance”.
February 18th, 2022
Now reputed as Nigeria’s poster boy for amapiano, Zinoleesky keeps pace with “Rocking”. His penchant for reflective storytelling, clever wordplay, and lush delivery is in full gear as he waxes on lust and hedonism. The log drum in “Rocking” provokes a whimsical vibe with pulsing whistles as the cherry on top.
“Ijo Laba Laba”
July 12th, 2022
Striking while the iron is hot, Crayon teams up with Sarz for “Ijo Lababa” (meaning “butterfly dance” in Yoruba), a dance trend involving some hand coordination that has since gone viral on social media. The amapiano-Afropop earworm is inspired by his dance move in the “Overdose” music video. The tantalizing dance rhythm would mark Crayon’s long-overdue ascent in the Nigerian music scene.
7. Burna Boy
“Different Size” feat. Victony
July 8th, 2022
Off his latest album, Burna Boy and Victony serve an irresistible melody that extols a woman’s derriere. The vain polish of the amapiano-tinged number reaches a crescendo as both singers take turno flaunt their vocal dexterity. Produced by Kvng Vinci, “Different Size” samples the jingle from popular Korean TV series, Squid Game.
8. Omay Lay
“How to Luv”
July 15th, 2022
In this record off his debut album, Omah Lay is unsure as he quizzes a significant other about her love language. “How to Luv” melds elements of amapiano, guitar kicks, and percussive baselines capped with Omah Lay’s dulcet vocals and offhand delivery. The record features background vocals of Knowledge, one half of the Ajebo Hustlers.
9. Kizz Daniel
“Buga” feat. Tekno
June 22nd, 2022
“Buga” has a well-bred aura in composition and messaging. It has become Afrobeats’ poster record on platforms like Tiktok, accompanied by a uniquely candid choreography that drives home Kizz Daniel’s intent for the song.
“As long as people work hard to make legitimate money, they should be proud to flaunt their worth,” he said. It became the fastest song to garner one million streams on Boomplay in 24 hours.