|Cultural origins||Mid–2010s (disputed), in Gauteng, South Africa|
Amapiano, a Nguni word loosely translated to "the pianos", is a subgenre of house music that emerged in South Africa in the mid-2010s. It is a hybrid of deep house, Afro house, jazz, Afro Tech and lounge music characterized by synths and wide percussive basslines.
There is a lot of ambiguity and debate concerning its origins, with various accounts of the musical styles in the Johannesburg townships. Because of the genre's similarities with Bacardi, some people assert the genre began in Pretoria. Various accounts as to who formed the popular genre make it impossible to accurately pinpoint its origins.
The word amapiano is a IsiZulu or IsiXhosa, or dipiano is a word loosely translated to "the pianos", The genre is mostly sang in Zulu and Xhosa, Sotho, Setswana, Xitsonga one of South Africa's native tongues.
Amapiano is distinguished by high-pitched piano melodies, kwaito from South Africa basslines, low tempo 1990s South African house rhythms and percussions from another local subgenre of house known as tribal house.
I don’t know what happened. I don't know how he figured out the log drum. Amapiano music has always been there, but he's the one who came up with the log drum sound. These boys like experimenting. They always check out new plug-ins. So when MDU figured it out, he ran with it.
The use of percussive basslines in South African house music predates amapiano, and was possibly pioneered by kwaito producer M’Du (also known as Mdu Masilela.) 
In 2019, the genre experienced increased popularity across the African continent, with noted increases in digital streams and chart successes in countries far from its South African origin.
In 2021, an awards ceremony was created that was dedicated to the genre, the South Africa Amapiano Music Awards.
The genre was popular amongst young people on social media platforms, where videos using amapiano music were uploaded, which fueled the dancing scene in South Africa.
Amapiano music has always been dominated mainly by men. Social media users in South Africa are constantly fighting to change the narratives about how they helped the country advance. In October 2023, the afrobeats song "Water" by South African singer Tyla gained international prominence following a viral Bacardi dance challenge on social media. It became the first song by a South African soloist to enter the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in 55 years, and was a top 10 hit in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, the Netherlands, Sweden and New Zealand, where it reached number one.
The genre's popularity has created a proliferation internationally, where producers attempt to replicate or fuse the sound with other genres for their next hit. Examples of such is Nigerian artist Davido's "Champion Sound" with South African artist Focalistic. This track was a major hit that led to the surge of Nigerian artists attempting to use the south African sound. The track "Monalisa" by Lojay featuring Chris Brown contains the signature "log drum", also known as the slit drum and other amapiano percussive elements.
The "Top 50 - Nigeria" Spotify chart contains a plethora of amapiano-inspired songs. Some of the songs are explicitly titled amapiano, such as "Amapiano" by Asake featuring Olamide. This has led to a misconception in the United States that amapiano originates from Nigeria. This can be seen in a recent tweet by American artist Swae Lee, where he tweeted the Nigerian flag, alongside the words "Wait till y'all hear Swae Lee on Amapiano".
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- @SwaeLee (11 July 2023). "Wait till y'all hear Swae Lee on Amapiano" (Tweet) – via Twitter.