Da Kruk Celebrates the Ascent of Amapiano in the BBC Doccie ‘This Is Amapiano’

by | Aug 8, 2022 | Entertainment, Entertainment, Kulture, Latest, Lifestyle | 0 comments

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The DJ and Producer was instrumental in bringing amapiano to the forefront; he maps the rise of the genre in the BBC (UK) produced documentary, ‘This is Amapiano’.

By: Thanduxolo ‘Thandz’ Buti
Images: Supplied

First, there was bubblegum, then kwaito, gqom, and now there is amapiano. These South African genres have pushed our music and culture into the global stage and inspired legions of artists, nationally and internationally.

It is without a doubt that the amapiano wave has submerged us and continues to have the world in a chokehold. The music transports us into a dance trance, at home, on the street, in the car, or at a club. This shit is so addictive and hits harder than Rock N’ Roll.

The BBC (1 Extra Africa) documentary This is Amapiano maps the rise of the music from the townships to dancefloors across the globe. They enlist some of the biggest stars of amapiano like Daliwonga (Daliwonga Matiwane), DBN Gogo (Mandisa Radebe), Kamo Mphela, Felo Le Tee (Tsholofelo Mokhine), Sha Sha (Charmaine Shamiso Mapimbiro), Mas Musiq (Thabo Ngubane), DJ Stokie (Setoki Mbatha), and Major League DJz (Banele and Bandile Mbere), offering a glimpse into the lifestyle and culture of amapiano.

“I showed my respect to the music by inviting the artists to my show, which was something they did not get at the time because it [amapiano] was shunned and marginalized.”

“Telling this story is such a huge responsibility,” says Da Kruk (Kutloano Nhlapo), the host of the doccie.

He tells us that the doccie took six years to assemble and he was assigned the hosting gig after BBC producer Kevyah Cardoso came searching for the amapiano history. Considering that Da Kruk played a pivotal role in helping amapiano breakthrough to commercial radio, many cite him as one of the essential names in the rise of the genre. 

“When I started backing amapiano at YFM back in the day, in 2016, it was just about me giving respect to the genre,” he explains.

“I showed my respect to the music by inviting the artists to my show, which was something they did not get at the time because it [amapiano] was shunned and marginalized.

“It was seen as a fad, something that was going to end soon and something that was disrupting other genres at the time. Respecting the humble beginnings of the genre makes it possible for me to be able to speak on behalf of the genre.”

The DJ says amapiano is a metamorphosis of kwaito, and if you don’t respect kwaito, then you won’t appreciate the genre.

“I’m an 80s baby. When kwaito was at its height, I saw the impact the music had. Unfortunately, at the time, documenting culture was not a big thing. Many kwaito artists did not document enough their impact at the time. Now, documenting is important because social media forces us to do so. And it is such a beautiful thing to watch.”

While the genre has been trending locally and receiving traction internationally, some have penned it for being one dimension and its lazy lyrics. Despite some criticism, armed with an infectious bassline, soul beats, and catchy lyrics; the genre has invented its own language that’s hard to escape. It continues to rule social media with dance challenges and memes.

“We come from a country that has experienced many hardships. We are still learning how to take pride in our own. We are always seeking approval, and it’s shocking but also not shocking considering where we come from as a country,” explains Da Kruk.

“We are the first so-called born free generation. Yes, we still carry that oppressed DNA within us, which makes us not acknowledge who we are as a people, our culture, and the force we are.

He continues: “When I hear stories like the ones of amapiano not being acknowledged, I see young black people fighting for acceptance and having to look at different parts of the world for approval. I mean Black Coffee has always been amazing, but because now he is rolling with Drake, everyone now thinks his better, but he has always been a genius.

“I feel like as people we need to embrace ourselves before anybody else does. Nigerians do that very well. The best case study for amapiano would be what Nigerians have done to their afrobeats scene and how they took the genre to the world, on their terms.”

“When I hear stories like the ones of amapiano not being acknowledged, I see young black people fighting for acceptance and having to look at different parts of the world for approval.”

The DJ says one of the main things he was fighting for while making the documentary was the representation of amapiano artists. It was important to him that the artists are celebrated as the superstars they are.

“Yes, we can show iKasi and humble beginnings of the genre, but I did not want to show any of the artists disrespectfully. I wanted us to show that these artists can stand pound for pound with any international artist,” he adds.

“We had to tell a story of how the music came from hardships, people’s backrooms and bedrooms, to crossing over globally – that needs to be celebrated in every corner of the world. If a Daliwonga or a Kamo Mphela walks in today, give them the same respect you would give an international star.

“That is how we begin to build our own into global superstars. Africa is a dynamic and beautiful place. It’s a melting pot of culture, style and music. But for a long time, we have put ourselves on the back foot because of Ubuntu. We must get to a point where we can balance Ubuntu with confidence.”

Da Kruk says he wants to do more television projects. [Image: Supplied]

Da Kruk name drops many artists who have helped put the genre on the global stage. He gives props to all the artists, producers and DJs who laid the groundwork so that this genre could gain respect in music.

“We need to give flowers to people like MFR Souls (Tumelo Nedondwe and Tumelo Mabe) and Kabza De Small (Kabelo Motha) because they did a lot of the groundwork. They gave birth to guys like Gaba Cannal (Khaka Yena) etc.

“And also a big shout out to the guys from Born in Soweto (Collen and Given) and House of Africa (Tim White and Vinny Da Vinci) because they started putting amapiano on compilations. They did well in pushing amapiano to commercial radio.

He concludes: “One of the milestones of amapiano was when Kabza De Small met DJ Maphorisa (Themba Sekowe) to add [catchy] lyrics to amapiano music, which changed everything forever.”

Watch This is Amapiano full documentary now: BBC Radio 1Xtra

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