From mbube we jump forward by nearly a century to amapiano, which emerged in the 2010s and is more closely linked with kwaito than anything else. It’s modern and a fusion of different genres: even the name borrows from Zulu and English – “ama” pluralises the “piano”, although the instrument doesn’t seem to be particularly prevalent in amapiano. Amapiano’s roots are small: songs are recorded, mixed and released on mobile phones, but they’re played everywhere, from shops to clubs to the radio. It’s made amapiano the most popular genre of South Africa Music.
The influence of kwaito is easy to see in amapiano, because it feels both old and modern and it’s easy to dance to. Amapiano also borrows from jazz, lounge and deep house and some of the tunes have a feel that’s both repetitive and catchy. You won’t mind it being stuck in your head for a few days. Because the genre is new and discussed online, it’s easy to find amapiano artists, who often collaborate with each other, and many amapiano songs feature other artists.
A Brief History of Hip Hop Music
Hip-hop music has a rich and varied history, starting in New York City in the 1970s:
Early latest foreign music saw its roots in the 1970s in the New York City borough of the Bronx. It started as a collaboration among intersecting groups of Black, Latinx, and Caribbean American youth at block parties—community gatherings that featured DJs playing soul and funk music. NYC DJs like DJ Kool Herc, Grand Wizzard Theodore, Grandmaster Flash, and Afrika Bambaataa began to experiment with different techniques during parties, including longer percussive breaks (called “breakbeats” or simply “the breaks”), turntable techniques, scratching, freestyle, and improvised vocals based on Jamaican “toasting.” They’re often credited as pioneers of modern hip-hop and rap music.
2. Expansion through the US:
In 1979, hip-hop trio the Sugarhill Gang released what is now widely considered the first hip-hop record, “Rapper’s Delight,” which reached the top 40 on the US Billboard charts and propelled hip-hop into the spotlight—making hip-hop a full-fledged genre.
In the 1980s, hip-hop was in full force. Many different artists began bringing new ideas to the genre, including drum kits (especially the 808), more complex sampling, metaphorical rap lyrics, and broader collaboration with genres like electro music. The ’80s also saw hip-hop spread to an international audience, especially across the UK, Japan, and Australia. Notable songs included “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five.
4. New school hip-hop:
In 1984, several hip-hop albums—especially from artists Run-DMC, LL Cool J, and the Beastie Boys—introduced what became called “new school hip-hop.” This style emphasized drum machine beats, minimalism, shorter songs (which were more radio-friendly), and socio-political commentary. These artists shifted away from the party rhymes and funk influences of “old school hip-hop.”
5. The golden era:
The late 1980s and early 1990s were the golden age of hip-hop, in which many performers enjoyed huge mainstream success while introducing major innovations with each new record. Major artists included Public Enemy, Tupac Shakur, The Notorious B.I.G., MC Hammer, Boogie Down Productions, Snoop Dogg, Nas, A Tribe Called Quest, and Big Daddy Kane. The era also saw the rise of gangsta rap, a subgenre that emphasized the lifestyle of inner-city youth and was characterized by artists like Schoolly D, Ice-T, and N.W.A.