The Twitter trend tables have once again become a hotbed for Nigerian music conversations and this time, it’s the deeply contrived discussion on the artiste that popularised the South African Amapiano sound in Nigeria. Well who popularised Amapiano in Nigeria, is it May D, Kiddominant or Davido? Find out in our story below.

On September 14, 2022, South African DJ, DJ Maphorisa unintentionally started off an Amapiano tussle following his response to a music fan who stated that Davido had exported the Amapiano sound from South Africa to the rest of the world. The fan also referenced Wizkid’s Bad To Me, stating that the singer had hopped on the Amapiano wave following Davido’s success with the sound, crediting Davido to being a sound pioneer that other artists have looked up to over the years. DJ Maphorisa was however not having any of it and responded to the tweet and corrected the fan by saying his Spononorecord with Kabza De Small which featured Wizkid and Burna Boy dates back to three years ago and made them the first to have them on an Amapiano record.

Indeed, Sponono had been the first time the two artists had done Amapiano and was the second out of four collaborations between the two Nigerian music greats, other music creators namely May Dand Kiddominant have however laid claims on being the pioneers of Amapiano in Nigeria so in this story, we attempt to answer the question; “Who popularised Amapiano in Nigeria?” by taking a look at some noteworthy releases that informed the rise of the sound in the country.

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1. Mayorkun – Of Lagos


Mayorkun’s Of Lagos may not gain an entry into the group chat of Amapiano records acceptable to the South African market, but it was however released on April 13, 2020, with some undeniable elements of Amapiano music such as the drum pads at the very beginning, and the generally relaxed tempo backed up by airy synth. This was a novel sound to the Nigerian market blended with familiar elements from Street-Hop to Afrobeats. Produced by Fresh VDM, Of Lagos had become an instant hit and is the first known Amapiano-infused track by a mainstream Nigerian act.

2. Rema – Woman



Rema’s Woman had swept the entire scene and had been notedly different from the jump with the snare and airy pads that becomes intensified at the chorus. This record after Mayorkun’s Of Lagos, was the second attempt by a Nigerian musician and producer duo to make Amapiano-infused music that had become a hit. Rema’s Woman was produced by Ozedikus and released on July 3, 2020.

3..Addicted – Niniola


Popularly hailed as the Queen of Afrohouse, it was only right for Niniola to partake in the Amapiano fun and she’d promptly done that on the Sarz-produced Addicted which involves a good mix of her Afrohouse style, Amapiano’s percussive basslines and her compelling vocals. Released on July 17, Addicted had been a 2020 summer hit and reaffirmed Niniola’s position as an Afrohouse pioneer.


4.Mr Money – Asake



Currently, the term “Fuji-Piano” has become a new description for the type of music created by Neo-Fuji singer, Asake as well as Zinoleesky by music lovers on Twitter due to their blend of Afrobeats, Fuji and HipHop over Amapiano-infused sonics. Interestingly, Asake had put out a core Nigerian-Amapiano record as early as August 2020 with the hyper track, Mr Money which now seems to have been a successful test between Asake and his producer, Magic Sticks.

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5.Kilofeshe – Zinoleesky


When Zinoleesky had dropped Kilofeshe, the streets, clubs, social media and every nook and cranny where music is appreciated had caught fire with it. It had given new life to street music and had been a full circle localisation of the Amapiano sound, as produced by Niphkeys where the elements were met full-on with Fuji and Afrobeat elements to create a banger track. Kilofeshe was released on November 27, 2020, and had been a huge end-of-year jam.


High Way – DJ Kaywise ft Phyno



December 2020 was heavily soundtracked by Amapiano bangers and DJ Kaywise’s Phyno-featured Highway was one of such tracks. Produced by Yung Willis, Highway made use of Amapiano’s dominant basslines, snares and synth while retaining the fast-paced nature of Nigerian street hop music to make an irresistible record that was rendered mostly in Igbo by Phyno.


Monalisa – Lojay and Sarz


Lojay and Sarz’s Monalisa currently has a well-received remix with American singer, Chris Brown which is evidence of the success of the original. A single off the Lojay and Sarz’s joint EP, it had started off as a sleeper hit before snowballing into a smash hit thanks to its heady and very warm Amapiano feel powered by a flute. An interesting fact is that Sarz had had the Amapiano instrumentals to Monalisa several months before Lojay hopped on the track and gave it new life. Monalisa was released with the LV N ATTN EP on June 4, 2021.

Yaba Buluku Remix – DJ Tarico and Burna Boy ft Preck and Nelson Tivane

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DJ Tarico and Burna Boy’s Yaba Buluku remix provides a quick geography lesson on the other Swahili-speaking South African nations such as Mozambique which is the DJ’s country and sees Nigeria and Mozambique trade cultures, sonics and music talents. Interestingly, on Yaba Buluku, the two countries were not only represented by musicians but also hypemen, who hoisted the culture of their countries high by calling praise names of the singer in their languages. While it’s unconfirmed, the heaviness of the bassline and synth on Yaba Buluku may also be a result of geographical sonic differences. Whichever it is, the record which was released on June 21, 2021, became an instant hit, in Nigeria and other African countries.

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