DJ Sumbody. Picture: Instagram
DJ Sumbody. Picture: Instagram

DJ Sumbody chats about all things amapiano

By Jamal Grootboom Time of article published May 1, 2021

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The summer season in 2018 when “Monate Mpolaye” dropped was one many groovists won’t forget.

Gqom was still at its height and this mid-tempo song came as a breath of fresh air compared to the high octane nature of the music genre that originated in Durban.

In many ways, “Monate Mpolaye” was the precursor to the domination of amapiano which is the new dominating genre with a plethora of new songs dropping every week at this stage.

DJ Sumbody has been one of the amapiano pioneers and popularising the genre and we spoke to him about amapiano, the struggles entertainers are facing with the Covid-19 pandemic and why amapiano is going global.

Speaking about why the genre has become such a phenomenon in Mzansi he says: “It’s simply because it’s our sound and it’s quite unique. It’s got dance moves, it’s quite catchy, and the hooks speak to the community of South Africa.”

“Monate Mpolaye” was a true cultural reset at the time and talking about the impact of the song he says: “’Monate Mpolaye’ is one of the songs that opened the (ama)piano genre. Especially because it features legends like Thebe from a kwaito background. And also featuring a hip hop artist on an (ama)piano track, Cassper Nyovest. It really opened doors for that sound, even for hip hop artists to jump on an (ama)piano track which was rare.”

Collaboration is a huge part of the genre with artists even outside of the genre jumping on songs in hopes of landing a hit track.

Speaking about who he would like to collaborate with DJ Sumbody says: “I’m looking at Africa right now, Wizkid, Davido and even a Jay Z I wouldn't mind on a piano track.”

The entertainment industry has suffered a big knock due to the coronavirus pandemic. Specifically, since for many months, people couldn’t congregate in entertainment venues leaving many DJs, artists and the people that work with them without work. Since live gigs were their main source of income.

Talking about this, Sumobody mentions that the pandemic impacted artists a lot since they depend on the clubs, restaurants and nightlife to get income. And they had to change gears since during the early stages of lockdown people were relying on streaming to get their groove fix while stuck indoors.

Furthermore, he adds that due to the hardships of those times, artists needed to find other forms of income.

With the rise of amapiano, an ongoing debate as to which genre is better between it and gqom.

Weighing in on this matter the “4 The Kulture” hitmaker says, “it’s because of the kwaito elements and hooks. The other one (gqom) has a more upbeat tempo and this one is more relaxed. It”s the same languages” Stating that amapiano is more soulful and allows people to sing along.

DJ Sumbody recently released “Lerato” featuring Rorisang and is currently working on his new album.

Speaking about what fans can expect he says, “I’ve got songs on the album featuring good vocalists and if you listen to the album you can see I’m trying to reach out to other countries.”

Read this and more stories in the first edition of our free quarterly IOL Entertainment Digital Magazine.

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