Amapiano Cruise beats on the cover of The WIRE

Amapiano Cruise: The Hottest New Sound from Africa

by | Apr 12, 2023 | CSA Celebrates, Culture, Entertainment, Lifestyle, Music, The Wire, Trends

  • Frenetic, hyped up, and relentless
  • Stampeding at 135-140 BPM
  • The main playas
  • Going viral on TikTok
  • Cultural Importance and the future?

Move out the way Amapiano and Afrobeat, there’s a new sound from Africa about to take over the globe, and its called Cruise. In stark contrast to the name, there is nothing laid back about this new genre. In fact, unlike Afrobeats with its gentle body rolling rhythms and its superstars in designer clothes, showcased in half-million-dollar music videos, Cruise is frenetic, hyped up, and relentless. A layered cacophony, and attack on the senses, Cruise makes Afrobeats look a little self-indulgent as it spews energy in all directions. Accompanied by equally frenetic high paced dance moves, Cruise carries the spirit of an economically disenfranchised Nigerian youth. Theirs is a reality disconnected from the aspirational and obvious wealth positioned by Afrobeats.

What does Cruise sound like?

Cruise is made up of stampeding, 135-140 BPM, instrumental #freebeat tracks, layered and interspersed with samples randomly sourced from TV evangelists, terrible adverts, politicians, or the audio from viral videos on social media. It is a raucous extension from the cut & paste content creator generation, powered by a DIY anti-establishment attitude. Its greatest significance is that it is the soundtrack of the WhatsApp generation. That this lingua franca, which swirls with in-jokes, memes and dance craze videos, is making its way into the clubs, is testimony to the credibility of the movement and genre.

Who are the main playas?

DJ YK is considered by many as the godfather of the sound and claims there is only one way to classify it: “I started using Cruise so that people stopped using my beats without consent and protect my intellectual property from people singing on them,” he says.

“I am the original originator, first to trend on TikTok. Check the history,” declares DJ Cora, emphasizing that YK may have popularised the 135-140 BPM sound, but that he was the first to include the amusing subject matter. Adds DJ Cora: “Only YK and me are the major faces.”

Cora claims that Cruise has significantly changed how party revellers conduct themselves at functions. “At parties there is less violence when you play Cruise – even when people are pulling up their clothes and going crazy,” he says “I made a track with the voices of two celebrities at war and they became friends from it. Cruise has positive impact”.

TikTok and the dance craze videos

The proliferation of meme and smartphone culture didn’t just fuel the Cruise scene; it set fire to it. YK is now tagged on Instagram and TikTok by fans keen to become part of the creative process, finding the samples to ride his beats. Dance videos on TikTok have propelled a genre that would have faded into obscurity without its opportunity to go viral. The undisputed leader of the movement is Skilo Richie. With over 40 million views, his hypnotic dance moves have swept across Nigeria and beyond and copycat videos across the platform soon followed. Upcoming producer, DJ Slimfit, adds that it’s all about the energy. “When you’re at a Cruise party the legwork is wild. You move the whole body, arms and legs.”

Cultural Importance

With little regard for seriousness or production values, Cruise has affectionately become the peoples’ favourite black sheep. Uncluttered by the bourgeoise entrapments of Afrobeats, Cruise is horns and all, the music for the people. It has succeeded by finding its audience without TV or radio. Containing the maddening euphoria of the lower classes – with a tongue in cheek protest at the system – the genre is completely oblivious as to whether it is good or bad. Cruise is just having too much fun right now. Will it grow into something big within the next year? We will have to wait and see. Meanwhile, just Cruise …

C.S.A.’s monthly cultural portal, The WIRE connects the dots of culture. With concise stories, many with video content, take a premium dive into the world of African entertainment & cultural fluidity. It’s one thing to be hip to what’s happening but it is another to know why.

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