South African star Kabza De Small’s Key Amapiano Tracks
Kabza De Small is a fundamental figure of amapiano, a subgenre of South African house music that is invading this country and is about to explode all over the world. Alone and as part of Scorpion Kings with DJ Maphorisa – a super-producer starring Drake and Major Lazer, whom Kabza once admired from afar – De Small helped elevate the genre to new heights in style and popularity. âHe started a huge trend,â Maphorisa says of Kabza, reverently. âAmapiano started out as an instrument in the beginning. [Kabza] voices added, then the whole game changed. He really played a big role with all the kids who sing to Amapiano songs or rap to Amapiano songs. That’s why I had to partner with him.
Here are six of Kabza’s favorite Amapianos tracks.
Musa Keys feat. Sir Trill and Nobantu Vilakazi, “Vula Mlomo”
Kabza calls it “the song to get people to dance”. It’s immediately striking, with light drums giving way to a delicate piano and a soft, heartwarming song that becomes more urgent and frenetic over time.
From Mthuda & Ntokzin with MalumNator, “uMsholozi”
The voice of the earworm in “uMsholozi” does not make itself heard until only a minute and 45 seconds remains of this layered dance floor which has been Shazamed over 126,000 times. They are worth the wait. â’UMsholozi’ is an Amapiano hymn that ignites any environment,â explains Kabza.
MDU aka TRP, “16 inch (dance mix)”
At 5 minutes and 20 seconds, “16 Inch (Dance Mix)” is on the shorter side of the Amapiano spectrum, where popular songs can be up to nine minutes long. Kabza calls it “everyone’s favorite viral song to lift [their] arm and move [to]â, And its virtual absence of lyrics highlights the prominent shakers and deliberate drumming.
DJ Maphorisa, Kabza De Small & TRESOR, “Folasade”
Kabza does a bit of self-praise here, calling “Folasade” “a beautiful serenade”. The single from Scorpion King’s April album Rumbling in the jungle is sung in English by Tresor, a Congolese singer. Folasade is a Yoruba name implying honor and royalty.
Kabza De Small ft Daliwonga, “iLog Drum”
Kabza says this song from last year’s album, I am the King of Amapiano: Sweet & Dust, is âa love letter dedicated to the root of the amapiano, the log drumâ. While producers in Amapiano can create models of synthetic log drums, physical log drums are split wooden or bamboo cylinders that can date back to the 6th century.
DJ Maphorisa & Tyler ICU ft Sir Trill, Daliwonga and Kabza De Small, “Banyana”
Kabza declares that the title track of producer and DJ Tyler ICU’s joint EP with DJ Maphorisa “A Summer Anthem!” With its heavy pulse and catchy vocal cadences, “Banyana” can create a party wherever it is played.