Amapiano drivers Major League DJz join forces with Major Lazer on new project, ‘Piano Republik’

featuring Dj Maphorisa, Brenda Fassie, Tiwa Savage and more

Amapiano, South Africa’s global township sound, is an international phenomenon. What was once an underground genre with a parochial following has become one of the defining sounds from this side of the world. It’s been widely co-opted across all of Afropop, and many key players out of South Africa are consistently shutting down clubs all over the world with captivating live sets. Major League DJz, the producer-DJ twin duo, are undeniably at the forefront of this global incursion, and their latest move is another show of their consistent push.

In collaboration with popular dance and electronic collective Major Lazer, the Mbere brothers have just released a 9-track extended play, ‘Piano Republik.’ While anyone familiar with Major Lazer—comprising Walshy Fire, Diplo and Ape Drums—recognises their standout hits like “Lean On,” they are not new to leading stellar collaborations with African acts. Think the catchy and star studded “Particula” which enlisted South Africa’s Nasty C and DJ Maphorisa as well as Nigeria’s Patoranking, Jidenna and Ice Prince or “My Love” with stunning vocals from Wale, Wizkid and Dua Lipa. This new project with Major League DJz continues Major Lazer’s love affair with urban African music.


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In the later parts of last year and a few short weeks ago, the project’s promotional singles provided insights on what to expect from the group’s joint project. While the Tiwa Savage and DJ Maphorisa-assisted “Koo Koo Fun” delivers an upbeat and memorable rendition of sexual politics and consent, “Designer” similarly sustains the high energy and momentum previously established. Led in with intoxicating percussive elements layered over subtle drum patterns on “Designer,” Joeboy sings of rocking his designer items and spoiling his love interest with equally flashy gifts.

In their usual pattern of fusing multiple world genre elements over primarily dance instrumentals and production, ‘Piano Republik’ pairs a series of twinkling keys with vocal accompaniments from a plethora of acts in different musical spheres. The project’s intro receives an instantly recognisable, sonorous rendition by TY Dolla $ign on “Smoking and Drinking.” In addition, Major Lazer and Major League DJZ offer a stellar remix of South Africa’s late Brenda Fassie’s Magnum Opus “Vulindlela.” Retitled “Mamgobhozi,” the remastered version of the track still retains Brenda’s mellifluous vocals, now accompanied with light shakers and an infectious, heart-thumping drum beat.

Also featuring other standout acts like Boniface, Msaki, Gaba Canaal and more, ‘Piano Republik’ isn’t just another major link up in dance music. It showcases just how mouldable and versatile the domineering genre of Amapiano is and proves even more how powerful production is in evoking emotions where words cannot as seen in the project’s outro, “Higher Ground.” The expansive genre that is Amapiano is constantly redefining the status quo and this collaboration provides a stellar attempt to nudge an astronomical rise for the ever-evolving sound.

Listen to ‘Piano Republik’ here.

Featured Image Credits/The NATIVE