From makossa to azonto, qqom, and most recently amapiano, the Nigerian music industry is adept at lending, repurposing, and popularizing influences from other cultures. Before the amapiano trend, Nigeria and South Africa have long maintained a rapport that transcends musical exchange, as seen between Fela and Hugh Masekela, Burna Boy and AKA, Wizkid and DJ Maphorisa, Runtown and Nasty C, among others.
Since its mainstream appeal, Nigerian artists have gone from creating alternative remixes of their existing records to latching on to the South African phenomenon for major releases that would go on to draw global attention. We have highlighted some of the hottest releases with a keen interest in the amount of amapiano-inspired Nigerian songs churned out weekly.
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
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 amapiano duo, Smeez and D3an. In her words, “everybody knows I love to sing and dance, and as the Queen of Afro-house, it is my duty to 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 ‘afrobeats meets amapiano’ and amplifies the singer’s will to always have a good time regardless. He drives home this resolve with 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.
“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 turns to flaunt their vocal dexterity. Produced by Kvng Vinci, “Different Size” samples the jingle from popular Korean TV series, Squid Game.
“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.
“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.