Amapiano is a style of house music that emerged in South Africa in 2012. Amapiano is a hybrid of deep house, jazz and lounge music characterized by synths, airy pads and wide basslines. It is distinguished by high pitched piano melodies, Kwaito basslines, low tempo 90s South African house rhythms and percussions from another local subgenre of house known as Bacardi.
Initially, Amapiano was a confined success in the townships, playing in popular pubs and taverns around Gauteng. The sound itself was underground music, being shared around using messaging apps, more commonly WhatsApp, before it became mainstream being recognised by streaming services such as Deezer, Spotify, Apple Music. The genre was further popularised by DJs who would transform popular music hits and incorporating the jazzy low-tempo into those tracks, including Geegoz and Kabza De Small.
As of 2020, Amapiano is getting more mainstream across Africa; there are several dedicated charts now, more playlists on digital platforms, not just by South Africans alone.