When Wizkid released his most recent song, Bad To Me, practically all music fans turned into music analysts. Everyone had an opinion on the song and had something negative to say about the use of amapiano by the musician. According to a twitter user, he has “never heard amapiano sound that terrible” in his entire life. For a brief while, I questioned whether I had poor hearing or was unable to accept the possibility that someone may choose not to like the jam.
Everybody had an opinion, including some of our favorite musicians, as the typical brouhaha about who the amapiano god is in Nigeria started. Fans claimed that Davido used the amapiano trend better than any other artist ever could, despite May D claiming to have been the first to jump on it. Together, our favorites participated in this amapiano discussion, and at the end of the day, we came to the conclusion that Nigerians fight over both things that are ours and those that are not.
We had a conversation with Amapiano over the weekend over a dish of spicy asun and red wine, and he had a lot to say about the whole thing. He was more adamant about clearing the air than taking a side. Here’s what happened:
Hello, amapiano! How do you feel? It’s nice to have you here.
I’m thankful that one of you had the civility to talk to me about this dispute involving me. Whether they are right or incorrect, everyone is invested in giving their opinion. It doesn’t matter to anyone what I have to say.
And what do you have to say?
I have deep roots in South Africa, which I will never try to deny. The sooner we all realize this, I believe, the fewer arguments we will have about me. In addition to having roots in South Africa, I came of age in 2012. Kabza De Small claims that I have always been there, possibly waiting for my actual potentials to come to light so watching Nigerians strive to claim me, as if I were some free commodity on exhibit, is becoming tiresome.
You sound so certain, how did you know you appeared in 2012?
There are facts. They are truthful. It’s widely publicized online, so there.
How do we know it’s you even when it’s generally easy to detect your presence?
Well, before Mdu transformed me into something better by injecting my being with log drums, I was always defined by synths, light pads, and percussion-heavy basslines. But just speak the log drums in a straightforward manner.
How did you find steps in Nigeria if you have always been a South African breed?
Greatness cannot be concealed in any way. I shifted to Naija in the same way that Fela did across the African continent and the Nigerian coast. I guess the Nigerian people wanted a piece of me when artists like DJ Maphorisa and Kabza started displaying me like a cherished bride.
Ah – Spit it out, there’s something you’ve been dying to know. I don’t bite.
The fans of our Nigerian artists believe that their favorites worked with you first, but since I’m speaking with you right now, I’m curious to find out who actually did.
I’ll tell you something for free: I’ve absolutely been hopped up on by the big three, and I’ve loved every minute of it. Thanks to Kabza, Wizkid and Burna Boy fared well with me on Sponono. On Ke Star, Davido and Focalistic have an unrivaled chemistry. However, given how Niniola experimented with my relative, Afro-house, in 2017, it’s possible that she was aware of my presence. When she released Addicted, she finally teamed with me. Then there is Mayorkun, who partnered with me on Of Lagos, a song that had its first amapiano hit in Nigeria.
You’re basically saying?
I’m basically saying that it doesn’t matter who teamed with me initially in Nigeria’s mainstream; all that counts is that you get the jam from working with me. I hardly ever hear records that sound terrible, simply overused, when I’m in them.
Will you refute May D’s claim that he had you on Get Down, his hit song with Oskido?
The assertion you made is the most perplexing I’ve heard throughout the entire conversation. When did May D use me in Get Down? Either Oskido tricked May D, or May D was just inserting himself into the discussion. Many of us lack the ability to categorize genres and comprehend how drastically different I am from Afro-house. Simple house or Afro-house, not amapiano, is what May D’s Get Down is.
You don’t feel exhausted from being overused by our artists, do you?
I do in most cases. They seem to be so certain in how much hit I can offer them should they want to work with me that they don’t seem to be willing to look at other, better sounds. Then, realizing that I might not be in this place for long, I let loose and have fun. These artists are talented, and I appreciate how they integrate my sound with other sounds. See Asake’s Joha; it was lovely to be in the same box as Fuji.
I believe you have already cleared the air enough, so say something to everyone, especially your South African and Nigerian artists.
While I do belong to South Africans, I also belong to no one and everyone. There is enough of me to go round, so instead of wasting time staking claims to me or teaming with me first for commercial gain, use that energy to provide your music fans with something they would enjoy. Depending on your creative juices, you can partner with me partially or completely.