Best New Music: Mas Musiq enlists an all-star cast for the gorgeous ‘Piano cut, “Gangnam Style”
Best New Music: Mas Musiq enlists an all-star cast for the gorgeous ‘Piano cut, “Gangnam Style”

Best New Music: Mas Musiq enlists an all-star cast for the gorgeous ‘Piano cut, “Gangnam Style”

featuring Daliwonga, DJ Maphorisa & Kabza De Small

Mas Musiq is one of Amapiano’s finest soundmen. As a producer and engineer, he’s been involved in enduring moments, whether that’s mixing and mastering the entirety of DJ Maphorisa and Kabza De Small’s first project as the Scorpion Kings—a commercial beacon of things to come in ‘Piano—or setting the musical tone for Riky Rick’s vulnerable admissions on his affecting single, “HOME.”

Like all A-list ‘Piano producer-DJs, the best way to enjoy the full Mas Musiq experience is through his full-length projects. With three albums and a joint EP with singer Aymos, Mas Musiq already has a preferred side of the Amapiano spectrum he operates in. Working on the Deep House side of things, the producer’s sound sits at the intersection of buttery and booming, where radiant piano melodies have as much allure as the rhythmic bounce of the rumbling bass and thudding log drums.

Already respected for a catalogue of known hits like “Zaka” and “Bambelela,” 2021’s ‘Auti ‘eSharp’ elevated the Tembisa-raised producer’s stock. Off the album, “Uzozisola,” “Inhliziyo,” and “Sengizwile” became hugely popular songs that pushed him into superstar territory, while the project’s immersive feel, refined touch and perfectly curated cast of collaborators highlighted his powers as an auteur. In a few weeks, Mas Musiq will release his fourth long play, ‘NINI na NINI’, and its lead single already portends a new creative apex.

Usually, when there’s a Kabza and Maphorisa credit on a headlining Mas Musiq song, the expected primary vocals are those of Aymos. This time around, it’s the robust and sweetly-scented voice of Daliwonga that rounds out the quartet on the newly released “Gangnam Style.” Referencing the 2012 dance-pop smash by the Korean artist PSY, the song is another showcase of Amapiano creators’ ability to find inspiration wherever they look.


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Asides Daliwonga’s interpolation of the viral phrase, “Oppan Gangnam style,” there’s no other explicit connection between both songs released eleven years apart, but the link between them is far from tenuous. First off, there’s the galloping tempo of its rhythmic groove, a direct referencing of the horse-y dance that greatly helped catapult PSY’s song into viral popularity. Also, there’s the incredibly fun and effortless charisma in Daliwonga’s performance, as he hops between snappy sung-rap quips and gorgeous onomatopoeic chants. There’s a guiding hand for Mas Musiq’s “Gangnam Style,” but its draw is in how incredibly fun it is without the gimmick of its inspiration overshadowing the sum of its parts.

As with any song involving Kabza and Mas Musiq, the melodic aspects of the music are ear-holding, with gospel-style keys providing angelic harmony runs. The overall framework for “Gangnam Style” is uncomplicated: The groove is consistent, simple but ultra-effective, while Daliwonga puts in a typically strong shift that continues his trademark mix of swag and gritty soul. There will be twelve more songs that will vie for the best song on ‘NINI na NINI’ when it’s out in its entirety, and “Gangnam Style” has set quite the bar for what to expect—that’s in addition to being one of the most gorgeous dance songs in ‘Piano so far in 2023.