The Best Amapiano Songs

Just like Gqom, another popular South African electronic subgenre, Amapiano was discredited by many top artists and mainstream media at first. But open-minded DJs such as Kabza De Small, MFR Souls, Jazzi Disciples, DJ Maphorisa amongst others changed the fate of the subgenre. Most of the tracks that have topped the charts this past year incorporate Amapiano.

Kabza de Small and DJ Maphorisa’s Scorpion Kings is the impressive opus of their ongoing Amapiano collaborations. Both DJs managed to create the right alchemy between Amapiano’s underground roots and commercial viability. Its stand-out song ‘Emcimbini’ is doing extremely well across streaming services and single “Amantombazane” featuring Samthing Soweto is a crowd favorite at braais (South African BBQs) and clubs.

Samthing Soweto’s other popular contribution to Amapiano is the hit song “Akulaleki”, off his debut album Isphithiphithi. Zimbabwean singer Sha Sha, dubbed Amapiano’s ‘first lady’, has shared her vocals on numerous tracks with Kabza De Small and DJ Maphorisa and her new album has topped the charts. Below is a full playlist curated by The Folklore featuring the top 22 Amapiano songs to enjoy.

The Key Artists behind the Amapiano Movement

MFR Souls are known to have come up with the name for the genre and were key players in helping it become mainstream. In the beginning, it was difficult for Amapiano to get played on the radio. YFM Radio station’s host Da Kruk was the first to play Amapiano before any other radio and DJ host. He launched the station’s first Amapiano Hour.

Afterward, the biggest show in the country ‘Live AMP’ broadcasted the DJs mixing the subgenre, which caught the rest of the music industry’s attention. Social Media influencers like Mbali Sibeko and Dimpie Dimpopo became ambassadors for Amapiano as they created and shared viral videos that featured the music.

The Making of Shaya!

The 26-minute documentary, which you can view below, follows several artists that explain the origins of Amapiano, their rise to fame and the legacy they want to leave behind. The director of the film, Thabang “Papercutt” Moloto, was a fan of Amapiano since its humble beginnings.

He was so fascinated by the genre that he felt compelled to help the artists involved with its rise tell their stories. Corona Beer launched a premium multiple city tour in South Africa called ‘Amapiano Sunsets’ earlier in 2019 headlined by frontrunners of the subgenre and new talent. During the filming of this tour, Moloto followed and interviewed the artists, visited their studios and had intimate conversations with the creators.




Copywriter at Christian Dior Perfume & Cosmetics. Based in Paris, London & Washington D.C. LSE & IFM Paris alumna.

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Christine Olivia Noumba Um

Christine Olivia Noumba Um

Copywriter at Christian Dior Perfume & Cosmetics. Based in Paris, London & Washington D.C. LSE & IFM Paris alumna.

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