EletiofeNigerian artists disagree over the importation of Amapiano

Nigerian artists disagree over the importation of Amapiano


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Wednesday, 14th September 2022 was a chaotic one for the music end of Nigerian Twitter as Nigerian artists, fans, and stakeholders disagree over the first artist to jump on the Amapiano sound.

Mr May D, Davido, KDDO, Niniola, Mayorkun

This article takes a look into the chaos that unfolded and set the record straight on the subject of the importation of Amapiano in Nigeria.

How it started: It all began after a troubleshooting Twitter user claimed that Davido brought Amapiano to Nigeria and made it successful, and Wizkid’s latest single ‘Bad To Me’ which is an Amapiano sound is a result of Davido’s influence.

Members of Wizkid FC which is his collection of fans quickly began posting rebuttals in what ushered in an emergency history lesson on the first Nigerian act to make Amapiano.

South Africa’s Maphorisa gets involved: DJ Maphorisa who is a famous music producer, artist, and DJ from South Africa decided to get into conversation and set the matter straight.

In his tweet, he pointed out that it was he and Kabza who first put Wizkid and Burna Boy on an Amapiano song in 2020 called ‘Sponono’.

“You’ve never liked me” Davido replies Maphorisa: In a rather surprising turn of events, Davido replied to Maphorisa’s explainer with a tweet stating that Maphorisa never liked him and he doesn’t know why.

Davido’s tweet quickly ushered in a contest of the Nigerian artists who pioneered Amapiano in Afrobeats and several artists didn’t shy from throwing their hats in the ring.

Nigerian artists disagree over the importation of Amapiano (I did it first): Things quickly took a chaotic and rather comical twist when Nigerian artists all engaged in a scramble over who was the first act to jump on Amapiano.

  • Mr. May D was the first to enter the contest as he claims he was the first Nigerian act to jump on Amapiano with ‘Get Down’, his collaboration with South African legend Oskido. Interestingly, the song isn’t even Amapiano.

Ace Producer Kiddominant was having none of Mr. May D‘s claims as he quickly made claims of his own. According to him, he imported Amapiano into West Africa with

A quick fact check on DSPs showed that ‘E-Wallet’ was released on May 29th, 2020 which is a month after Mayorkun released his Amapiano record ‘Of Lagos’ on 13th April 2020.

  • “Na Me Bring,” Davido doubles down. While Davido clearly didn’t import Amapiano into Nigeria, his decision to jump on ‘Ke-star’ remix was very decisive in popularizing Amapiano in Nigeria and giving listeners a more robust idea of the accompanying elements of the sound.
  • DJ Neptune wasn’t left out as he reminded us that he was the first Nigerian to feature South Africa’s Focalistic on the Amapiano remix of his smash hit ‘Nobody’. While he wasn’t claiming credit for the importation of Amapiano, he just wanted to put it out there.
  • Ace Video Director Dammy Twitch also took the chance to enjoy himself and remind us that he was the first Director to shoot an Amapiano music video in Nigeria.
  • “Give Niniola Her Flowers”. As the “Who did it first” contest raged on, there were individuals who were solely concerned about Niniola’s place in the debate. Like Mr. May D, they don’t care if she was, in fact, making Amapiano.

Niniola is one of the Nigerian artist to interact with South African sound through her music, she combined South African House music with Afrobeats elements of mostly Neo-Fuji and Pop. However her music wasn’t Amapiano.

Her first sound that carried Amapiano elements was ‘Addicted’ through its log drums and snares but the single is still not entirely Amapiano.

The only reason some listeners are insisting she made Amapiano is because they ignorantly and erroneously consider any and all sounds coming from South Africa as Amapiano.

So, who did it first?: Before we get to the subject of who did it first, we need to quickly examine what is Amapiano?

Amapiano is a South Africa music genre that combines SA House music with elements of Kwaito music with distinctive markers such as its use of log drums, snares, mid tempo sonic, syncopated breakbeats, and heavy baselines.

As far as mainstream music goes, Mayorkun is the first Nigerian act to jump on Amapiano with his 2020 single ‘Of Lagos’.

‘Sponono’ was also released in 2020 albeit with little impact in Nigeria. Other Amapiano songs that were released in 2020 include:

KDDO’s ‘EWallet’, Masterkraft’s ‘Equipment’, Rema’s ‘Woman’, Zinoleesky’s ‘Kilofeshe’, Davido’s ‘LaLa’ and ‘I got a Friend’ off ‘A Better Time’ album, amongst many other songs.

However, when we talk about the song whose impact popularize Amapiano in Nigeria and made it into a staple in Afrobeats Soundscape, that credit goes to ‘Ke-star’ remix by Focalistic featuring Davido.

Credit must also be given to Zinoleesky who gleaned hits off Amapiano and made it a recognizable street sound.

So who did it first? That will be Mayorkun with his single ‘Of Lagos’.

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