Major League DJ’s: New Age Kwaito meets Amapiano
- From Kwaito & Hip Hop to Amapiano
- The evolution of Amapiano
- Pianochella! and What’s The Levol
- Amapiano genres and the future
The Major League DJ’s had already carved a special place in entertainment and culture as a seminal hip-hop/kwaito group. It was their very intrinsic feel for the rhythmic sensibility of kwaito and street philosophy of hip hop that allowed the twins to seamlessly imprint a South African perspective on the music. The result was a unique viewpoint and a revolutionary showcasing of the genres.
This also translated straight into their live events with the twins notably hosting parties for 50 Cent, Akon, and Fat Joe and playing with DJ Fresh, Roger Goode, DJ Trauma and DJ Woo Kid. They have also performed alongside international artists such as Kanye West and Kid Cudi. Cementing their presence in the entertainment industry, however, are their sell out “Major League Gardens” events which present live hip-hop and house music performances with various artists.
That they would pivot to Amapiano is no surprise. Their sonic inheritance of and as leaders of “New Age Kwaito” had already laid the foundation, and their expression and interpretation of Amapiano is nothing if not sublime.
In an interview with DJ Cuppy on her Apple Music radio show, Africa Now, the Major League DJz explained this artistic change of direction. “We knew what we were trying to do. You know, dance is a very big genre in Africa and the world alone. So, moving into that space wasn’t that hard, but we just had to tell the fans ‘this is how we’re moving’.”
Lockdown presented the perfect opportunity for experimenting and resulted in two projects: “Pianochella!” and “What’s The Levol”. Both were wonderful showcases for their dexterous handling of the genre and their creative & imaginative production skills. Years of DJ’ing, especially, are captured in their more jazzy and soulful Amapiano inflections. Tracks “Le Plane E’Landile” and “Dinaledi” were huge hits, quickly topping Amapiano playlists. “Ayeyeye” ft. Costa Titch, Reece Madlisa, Mr. JazziQ, Zuma and Abidoza artfully create an intellectual homage to kwaito whilst remaining fully Amapiano on the ear.
The DJ duo are imminently aware of the evolution of Amapiano, set as they are within the centre of creating tracks in the genre. “Amapiano is already having sub-genres, like Kwaito piano, deep house piano, tech-piano. There is Afro-piano and there’s Soulful piano. Our own song “Dinaledi” is soulful piano. So yeah, Amapiano is going to grow. We need to let it grow.”
With lockdown preventing the DJ’s from throwing their epic “Major League Gardens” events, the duo experimented with an online YouTube web-series called Amapiano Live Balcony Mix Africa featuring Major League and guests dropping live sets. The channel has garnered a cult following and its cultural impact was recently displayed with a set featuring DBN Gogo pulling over two million views.
But fans still can’t wait to see them live.
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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