Over the past few years, a distinct rhythmic genre from South Africa has risen to indisputable fame, traversing borders from its originating country and rubbing with other sounds within Africa taking on new life in the communities it has now settled in. Amapiano, as it is now popularly known has become South Africa’s youngest and fastest-growing electronic music movement, which has grown from the underground to a global phenomenon.
While the genre enjoys a new moment in the spotlight, we’ve seen more and more African artists – particularly Nigerian artists – hop on its wave, adopting this sound into their Afropop-tinged production and displaying the creativeness of Amapiano. While this certainly boosts the genre’s growth and appeal, we’ve already seen how detrimental claiming ownership of the genre can be to the communities and places it first originated. Because of this, cross-cultural collaborations between Afropop’s finest and South African artists tapping into the genre are always welcome, much in the way our inclusion of “Sponono” on the best collaborations of the past year proved without a doubt.
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Focalistic was one of the first rappers to co-opt and properly commit to the growing sound, channelling the liveliness of his gruff voice over the genre’s rhythmic production. Following on from his latest album ‘Sghubu Ses Excellent’ which dropped in December last year, the rapper has now tapped into the pop sounds of Afropop heavyweight Davido for the remix to his 2020 single, “Ke Star”. Enlisting Davido was certainly a smart move, for a song that’s already stolen the hearts and ears of Amapiano lovers across the continent, particularly as the Afropop juggernaut tapped into the trending sound on his third studio LP ‘A Better Time’ . The South African rapper admitted after the song’s release that he had been a fan of Davido from day one, and a worthy feature from the Afropop star was now a lifetime dream diligently fulfilled.
Virgo Deep’s breezy instrumental arrangement sets immaculate ambiance for Focalistic and Davido to float effortlessly on the beat, supporting each other through their verses. Davido opens the track with his catchy adlibs and one-liners before bursting into his memorable verse: “It goes down when my G’s connect, no disconnect/I dey catch cruise, forget/If you talk you collect” he sings, arming listeners with enough quotables that can easily be committed to memory and chant.
Focalistic joins Davido after his powerful opener, delivering all the rhythms and enviable flow that we heard in the song’s original version. Singing entirely in Sepitori, the rapper memorably sings “Tikitiki yo yo yo” several times on the song’s lively production – the catchy quotable that first thrust the original version into viral prominence. He doesn’t compromise on his knack for delivering hits and creating, saying “Ase Trap Tse Ke Pina Tsa Ko Kasi” which is roughly translated as “It’s not trap, it’s a song from the hood”.
Currently, the song is already making headway around the continent, shooting to the #1 spot on Afrobeats charts in Nigeria, Tanzania, and South Africa, alongside remarkably making an entrance on the UK iTunes top songs charts. It’s safe to say that the song is already a brilliant success so early on from its release, and with Focalistic already teasing the song’s video in the coming days, we can’t wait to see how it continues to break records and foster collaboration between the Amapiano disruptors and artists from around the African continent.
Stream “Ke Star Remix” below.