Bacardi House-Tinged Amapiano sets the streets on fire
Think of the first amapiano song you ever heard. Chances are the track that introduced you to the genre won’t sound like the last one you heard. This is perhaps one of amapiano’s greatest strengths, or what sets it apart from other musical genres: its constant mutation and evolution, especially over short periods of time.
If the debatable cradle of the genre often refers to the townships of Johannesburg, many enthusiasts argue and evoke those of Pretoria instead. Prior to these contradictory remarks, however, there was a sound unmistakably born in the town now known as Tshwane. During the 2000s, artists and DJs/producers such as DJ Mujava, DJ Spoko, House Station, Mzo Bullet, and others pioneered Bacardi house and what was commonly referred to as “sgubhu saPitori” with songs such as “Township Funk”, “Tobetsa”, “Casablanca”, and “Mugwanti”.
Because of these aforementioned era-defining successes, many traditional Amapiano artists, especially those hailing from Pretoria, have cited Mujava as inspiration. focalistic, who always talks about the influence of bacardi house on his music, said in an interview with a French publication pan-african music, “we are the children of Mujava.” The opening title of his EP 2021 President Ya Straata is a heartwarming ode to the genre, aptly titled Barcardi Ke Religion (which translates to “bacardi is a religion”). On “16 Days No Sleep”, from the same EP, Foca borrows the refrain “vele vele vele vele / vele vele vele vele, patje patje patje patje patje /basokeleng… o ke patje o mo wete / o ke leGogo le le sharp” from a bacardi underground hit. The song also interpolates the bass line from DJ Nyiko“Sweety Ngwago Ke Busy”, another beloved Bacardi hit.
In the same way, DJ Dadaman (of Team Skorokoro fame) revived the popular “Miami (You’ve Got The Power)” by slowing it down and incorporating the log drum, giving it a 2021 facelift for their song of the same name. A growing trend among some recent amapiano hits.
Dj Mujava – Township Funkwww.youtube.com
In Mokowe’ productions Mzongkonko Amapiano Music Documentary, Random music (half of the Mosha team) mention jazz, kwaito and bacardi as building blocks of amapiano. Acts such as Team Mosha, pencil and zing master and Skorokoro Team were “pushing the piano” before 2019 – before it became fashionable to do so in the mainstream. However, they are often overlooked and omitted in conversation, primarily because their sound was unique, raw, and stylistically had traces of bacardi, which as a genre also sometimes suffered from the same prejudice nationwide.
“When bacardi was introduced to the neighborhood, it captured excessive party spirits in people’s ears,” shares Blaqnick, of the duo Blaqnick & MasterBlaq, born in Atteridgeville, the architects behind the tubes Whistling Man, La Mezcla (B&M Revisit) and Khuza Gogo. “Back when bacardi was the like, he had his own unique lifestyle. Clubs, taverns, gatherings and events were so largely dominated by the genre. Memories were created at the time. The dance steps were fire. People’s adrenaline skyrocketed every time they heard bacardi playing.
The once popular bacardi house sound is enjoying a renaissance thanks to amapiano. This second coming, and merging of the two genres began to show its face on earth in mid-2021 on songs such as the recently officially released (but leaked) hit track “Trust Fund” by DJ Maphorisa (& Madumane), Kabza De Small, Focalistic aand the end Mpuraproduced by Sweet and sordid.
“There’s ‘new age bacardi’ that young producers are doing, mixing it with piano elements,” shared DJ Maphorisaduring his intimate conversation with Kabza De Small, for Black Crowns Coronation Moment. “Even the pace has been slowed down. The old bacardi was around 120/122 bpm, and the new iteration sits at 113/112. Praetorian producers merged the two sounds; they use bacardi signature snares and hi-hats”, continues the super-producer
production duo Sweet and sordidYou have spearheaded and are leading the pack. The Tshwane natives – hailing from Ga-Rankuwa and Soshanguve townships – grew up surrounded by the grainy, distorted sounds of house bacardi blasting through neighbors’ speakers or jukeboxes from nearby taverns. The sound is therefore authentic and comes naturally to them. Sleazy supported this notion when he confessed, “It’s not that hard to mix bacardi and piano because it’s almost the same thing,” during an episode of Oskidoit is tower of joy YouTube show.
“Rekere, nkwari, you can choose what you call it,” Sleazy revealed in a video for Boiler Room and the real deconstructed Ballantine musicseries after Robot Boii tell them they almost have theirs [sub]kind of ‘piano. “I don’t know how this sound was created, but it’s a Pretoria sound. It’s that particular sound. If you’re from Pretoria, you know that sound. You hear it and then you lose your spirits, you go crazy.
In the clip, the duo explain how their 2021 hit “Bopha” came about. The song, which uses their signature hybrid style, proved to be a hit as it reached platinum selling status. Another track of their own, the Ch’cco-assisted viral hit “Nkao Tempela” has amassed millions of streams. However, when the song dropped in November 2021, social media was torn between loving it and confusing it – mostly due to its unorthodox approach and style. Many defenders of the song have attributed the hatred to people not understanding Sepitori (praetorian jargon) and Pitori culture and sound. Meanwhile, Mellow & Sleazy even tweeted, “Nkao Tempela is basically a bacardi track with a hip hop broer trapping on it.” There “ko morago / ko morago / ko morago / hayi ko moragoThe song’s intro lyrics refer to another old-school praetorian track, “Ko Morago” by DJ Strongbow.
Before Mellow & Sleazy popularized the hybrid style, Blaqnick & MasterBlaq had already experienced sound. Like many piano producers, they often collaborate with other like-minded artists. In September 2021, they all teamed up on “Berete”. As creators Blaqnick & MasterBlaq continue to champion the wave on tracks like “Top 7”, “Underdogs” and “Sgija Vs Bacardi”, from the latest offering The amazing world of B&M. For them, it is important to include notes of bacardi in their music because, “we have known that people in our neighborhood have loved bacardi for a long time, so we decided to add its attractive elements, to encompass our people so they don’t feel left out.”
Myztro, who calls Soshanguve home, is another producer exploring sound. His first EP 031 Nkwari, released under Maphorisa’s New Money Gang Records, features the song “Rekere”, which features Felo Le Tee and Mellow & Sleazy as collaborators. The song’s catchy hook is inspired by DJ Hu Nose’s 2000s hit Voroso ke Voroso.
“Because I’m from a Pretoria township, I’m trying to create this new bacardi sound, mixing it with amapiano,” Myztro said during an episode of Sportscene’s Weekend Turn Up. “So I try to bring in artists like SUV Ma R5 and Phindi Maphendula to blend in because their bacardi is raw so we want to blend it in with some amapiano.
True to his word, 031 Nkwari presents the contemporary bacardi act Enny Man Da Guitar, an/a naja zulu (the singer best known for “Voroso Ke Voroso,” BOP’s “Naja,” and DJ Cleo’s “Ndiya Ndiya”) Booming Acts ShaunMusiq and F also do production help on the EP and work closely with Myztro. The duo first made waves with “Nkwari 2.0 (Pheli2Mams)” – which interpolates Candy Master’s “Pheli To Mams”. They went on to work with the likes of Robot Boii (“Salary Salary”), Shaun Stylist (“Oskae Feya Fatshe”), and of course, Mellow & Sleazy, among others. Like “Nkao Tempela”, Robot Boii’s Salary Salary went viral on TikTok, with many app users joining in to learn the recorded dance to the bacardi-fueled song.
When describing bacardi in the 2015 documentary His future from Mzansishared DJ Spoko, “There is a bit of house and the drums are different from other music. It has our local style of drumming”. Nearly two decades later, it is these locally brewed drums, as well as his line characteristic wobbly bass, which crept into the piano.
“When we first introduced bacardi [into amapiano], our plan was to encompass people, right? Blaqnick rhetoric. “But the other main reason was to show what our neighborhood had grown through music. As the creators of Gen Z hits, we saw how important this genre was to our people and how much this genre was jovial or rather catchy for our people in the hood.
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