10 Amapiano DJs You Need to Have On Your Radar

Amapiano, the infectious South African house music genre, has come a long way.

While debates swirl about its origins, the consensus is clear: Amapiano is South African house music. Not everyone, however, discovered this mesmerizing and compelling sound at the same time.

For some, their first introduction to the genre was the viral “Whistle Girl” video, wherein Reneiloe Seemane vibes to “Jebson” by Kabza De Small and Thebelebe. For EDM.com readers, the Amapiano wave washed over in the latter half of 2020, when we highlighted its swelling influence on TikTok.

That was before Uncle Waffles ignited a new surge with her “People are burning” post, which not only transformed her career, but also amplified the genre’s global reach. Today, Amapiano resonates worldwide, with TitoM & Yuppe’s “Tshwala Bam” echoing through clubs and social media.

It would be difficult—and unconvincing—to attribute the success of Amapiano to a single moment. Instead, the world is witnessing a remarkable domino effect of moments, platforms and artists that have collectively championed the Amapiano sound.

Since 2020, there’s been an immeasurable amount of totemic moments for the genre. The 2021 BET HipHop Awards featured an Amapiano cypher, Beatport officially recognized Amapiano as a genre the following year and Uncle Waffles in 2023 became the first Amapiano DJ to perform on Coachella’s legendary mainstage. These milestones, alongside niche festivals, labels and agencies catering to the genre, have further fueled the genre’s rise.

The Amapiano sound, a cocktail of sultry synths, euphoric keys and infectious percussion, has infiltrated clubs worldwide and every corner of the internet, thanks to the DJs behind the decks. Their performances, social media posts, dance moves, mixes and tracks have helped the genre skyrocket in popularity around the world.

As Amapiano continues to extend far beyond the confines of South Africa, here are 10 DJs you need on your radar.

TxC

What’s better than one Amapiano DJ? Two. Most people swear Tarryn Reid and Clairise Hefke are twins. The truth is, they’re not. But like peanut butter and jelly, they harmonize effortlessly, enhancing each other’s essence.

Their onstage chemistry together has inspired countless female DJs to adopt the “TxC formula” by joining forces as a duo. While many have sprung up in their wake, TxC have stood out internationally as trailblazers. When they aren’t touring the US and Europe or lighting up clubs in Dubai, they craft Amapiano bangers in the studio.

TxC is of those Amapiano acts everyone simply needs to see live at least once in their life. What sets their live performances apart from the rest is the entertaining and energetic way they commandeer all stages, both big and small.

TENOCEANS

TENOCEANS is the rising star redefining South African house music. Her experimental sounds and eclectic mixes cut across Amapiano, Gqom, Afro-house and Afro-tech and dance music.

Effortlessly blending various genres, TENOCEANS turns heads with unexpected sonic twists. Her innovative style and fearless approach to DJing has caught the attention of music executives and fans within the Amapiano community.

Yumbs

In the vast pool of talented Amapiano DJs, Yumbs stands out as one of the most versatile. Striking a fine balance between DJing and producing, he is a collaborator extraordinaire.

When Yumbs isn’t putting his special touch on remixes (like Ciara and Chris Brown’s “How We Roll”), he’s busy getting crowds moving to Amapiano beats in clubs both at home and abroad.

Musa Keys

A favorite among partygoers and house music fans, Musa Keys brings a unique flair to Amapiano. From DJing and production to songwriting and singing, he’s a true jack of all trades. His charismatic sets and catchy tunes have earned him widespread acclaim, including a Grammy nomination in 2023 for the Amapiano-infused track “Available” with Davido.

Kelvin Momo

Kelvin Momo’s approach to Amapiano is deeply soulful. His tracks often feature lush, atmospheric soundscapes that transport listeners to another realm. He’s the kind of DJ you want at an Amapiano brunch party, but make no mistake—he can also have the club jumping in seconds.

Shakes & Les

One word that comes to mind when most South Africans hear the name Shakes & Les is “funk.” They are best known for their debut EP, Funk Series, a colorful collection of various Amapiano flavors. Although relatively new in the Amapiano scene, Shakes & Les are quickly taking over the streets and clubs of South Africa.

Justin99

Justin99 began his journey as a DJ in 2019 and has recently been achieving the success he deserves. This young, energetic DJ puts the fun in Amapiano. He and Uncle Waffles are the reason the world couldn’t get the song “Yahyuppiyah” out of their heads in 2023.

KMAT

KMAT serves Amapiano with a side of Afro-tech. It’s been four years since she took a leap of faith to start her career as a DJ, but today, she’s a staple in many local clubs and has been releasing records of her own. Watching KMAT’s set closely, you’ll see a DJ who genuinely loves and enjoys the craft.

DJ Tshegu

On stage, DJ Tshegu is a genre-defying sensation, captivating audiences with her dynamic performances. Online, she’s a viral Amapiano hitmaker, intuitively attuned to what her listeners crave. Her sets are ever-evolving, predominantly featuring Amapiano and house music with a touch of old-school vibes. This versatile style allows her to unite audiences of all ages, fostering a shared appreciation for Amapiano.

Pearl Thusi

Some people have the ability to be one thing and be good at only one thing. Not immensely talented multipotentialites like Idris Elba, Shaq and Pearl Thusi. Although Thusi is widely known as an actor and media personality, her foray into Amapiano has been nothing short of spectacular.

After spending years honing her craft and practicing until she couldn’t stand anymore, Thusi made her debut at Soweto’s Makhelwane Festival. Since then, she has been performing in venues across South Africa, delivering sets characterized by high-energy South African house music and incredibly smooth transitions.

View the original article to see embedded media.

The LGBTQ Artists Who Inspire Wreckno, EDM's Glitter-Dipped Disruptor-in-Chief

In today’s world, where authenticity often takes a backseat to mirror-maze social media manipulation, Wreckno‘s unapologetic embrace of their identity has helped carve out a space for LGBTQ artists to thrive.

An outspoken advocate of LGBTQ rights, the EDM.com Class of 2022 star is going scorched earth—like they do every Pride Month—after releasing a new single, “Party Girl.”

Wreckno’s braggadocious bars flow like honey down a spoon, providing the rhythmic intravenous drip for this slice of dancefloor euphoria. A Pride anthem through and through, the audacious hip-house banger will appear on a new EP this summer by way of the venerable Helix Records.

The triple-threat DJ, producer and rapper is now gearing up to debut their very own Pride event, “Wreckno’s Big Gay Soirée,” in Denver. Scheduled for June 20th, the summer bash will feature performances by Wreckno, Kaleena Zanders, So Sus, Ava Sparks and a special guest as well as drag performances from Aja and LaLa Ri of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Tickets are on sale now. But before then, read on to discover the songs and artists that continue to inspire Wreckno, in their own words.

Brooke Candy — “Das Me”

Brooke Candy was the first artist I discovered that was reclaiming homophobic slurs and making them badass to identify with. This song awakened something in me as a teenager that told me, “You can be a badass out loud and proud queer person without shame!”

Mykki Blanco — “Haze.Boogie.Life”

Mykki Blanco is another artist from my teen Tumblr years that really helped shape what I wanted to exude as an artist. Mykki’s sharp lyricism and wit always spoke to me as well as their iconic fashion sense.

Ashnikko — “Working Bitch”

I discovered Ashnikko through the Internet just before she popped off in 2020. I remember feeling so enamored with the cadence of her voice and her cheeky punchlines. She is everything!

Ethel Cain — “Hard Times”

In the last year I have become absolutely obsessed with Ethel Cain. While you don’t normally hear soft and beautiful sad songs from the Wreckno project, I am beyond inspired by her work and others that exist in that realm of music.

Lady Gaga — “Alice”

What can I say about Gaga. She is everything to me. She is why I wanted to become a performer! I lost touch with the Little Monster in me while I focused on EDM for a long time. When she released her album Chromatica, I found my way back. This opening track of the album took me back to that teenager that was jumping around my bedroom doing her choreography, and reminded me why I got into music. I love her so much!

FLETCHER — “Forever (SOPHIE Remix)”

SOPHIE is such an inspiration to me when it comes to production. I have a photo of her hanging in my studio to remind me of the LGBTQ trailblazers that have come before me, that left such a special impact on music. I think of her whenever I feel like I’m not good enough to make memorable music. We love and miss you SOPHIE.

Moore Kismet & Pauline Herr — “You Should Run”

Moore Kismet is one of my favorite LGBTQ+ acts in music. Not only do they make incredible tunes, but they’re an angel of a human. I’m stoked to say we have a track dropping at the end of Pride Month too!

Cakes da Killa — “Don Dada”

Cakes da Killa is another queer rapper I grew up adoring. His flow, wit, cadence and style speak for themselves. I got to be on a track with him and Mija last year and it was a dream come true!

Chase Icon — “Like Me”

What can I say about Chase Icon. She’s just that girl! I’ve been obsessed with her witty lyrics and smooth glossy vocals ever since she went from Twitter celeb to pop girlie. Chase Iconic SuperSonic!

Chappel Roan — “Femininomenon”

Last but definitely not least, it’s 2024’s IT GIRL, Chappel Roan! I first heard her debut album at the beginning of this year, and as soon as this track started I was hooked. “Hit it like Rumpapapum, get it hot like papa John!” I was obsessed with that lyric! I would rap that. She is everything. Superstar.

Follow Wreckno:

X: x.com/wrekno
Instagram: instagram.com/wrekno
TikTok: tiktok.com/@wrecknosound
Facebook: facebook.com/wrecknosound
Spotify: spoti.fi/343gTkH

Twitch Inks Landmark Music Licensing Deals for Livestreamed DJ Sets

Twitch has inked licensing deals with Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, Sony Music and “hundreds” of independent music rightsholders enabling DJs to legally play copyrighted songs in their streams, the company announced this week.

The landmark agreements, which Twitch claims are the first of their kind, precipitated the “Twitch DJ Program,” which will pay royalties to the platform’s artists—but with a few caveats.

“This program is only applicable to those who live-stream as DJs, and does not apply to other uses of music,” Twitch CEO Dan Clancy said in a blog post. “DJs will need to opt-in to a new agreement that will apply to all streaming on their channel. For those who only stream DJ content part-time, we recommend creating a second standalone channel dedicated to DJ live-streaming.”

In order to “cover the cost of the music” played by DJs in their videos, Twitch will allocate a portion of their revenue to the record labels and artists behind the streamed music. In other words, DJs will have to cough up an unspecified percentage of their earnings to rightsholders. These costs will vary depending on “how a channel monetizes,” but for most streamers, Clancy says, Twitch will split them 50/50.

The platform experienced breakneck growth after its acquisition by Amazon for $970 million back in 2014, and its popularity erupted during the COVID-19 pandemic as DJs desperately turned to streaming to stay financially afloat. But Twitch found itself in hot water after issuing rampant DMCA takedown notices to legions of its users, who were unwittingly playing songs in their streams without the rights to do so by virtue of the company’s business model.

“DJs have been streaming on Twitch for some time now, but have been personally responsible for the challenges of tackling these issues, along with the risks of not doing so,” reads Clancy’s blog post. “Twitch has been able to mitigate these risks during ongoing negotiations with music companies, who have been willing to keep the status quo during our discussions.”

“It’s crucial that DJs understand the status quo on Twitch was not sustainable, and any viable future for the community required we find a solution,” he added.

Twitch CEO Dan Clancy.

Twitch

The new licensing deals not only legitimize Twitch as a veritable music hub, but also serve as a watershed moment for DJs. They can now freely select music and perform without legal ramifications, opening up new avenues for monetization and audience growth.

A late-2021 study by the music analytics firm Luminate suggested that Twitch is instrumental in fueling the discovery of electronic dance music and found that the platform’s users “are 84% more likely to listen to EDM than the average music listener.” Look no further than Crossmauz, a teenage Twitch creator who configured in his bedroom a rig of festival-grade lasers, strobe lights, speakers and even pyrotechnics to blast EDM during his gaming streams.

The number of DJs streaming on Twitch has more than quadrupled since 2020, according to Clancy, who said that “over 15,000 of them have been able to build and monetize communities of music fans” on the platform.

“We’re proud to be the first major service to provide a safe, permanent home for DJs, and we are excited to now be able to promote and support these creators as they build communities on our service and beyond,” he said.

You can can find out more about the “Twitch DJ Program” here.

Spotify Hits Replay on Price Hikes, Raises Subscription Rates for the Second Time in a Year

Just when you thought your monthly subscription was safe, Spotify has decided to raise prices—again. Starting next month, US subscribers will face higher fees for Premium, Duo and Family plans, marking the second increase within a year.

Beginning in July, Spotify Premium will cost $11.99 per month, up from the previous $10.99. Duo plans will rise by $2 to $16.99 per month and Family plans will see a $3 increase, bringing the total to $19.99 per month.

Spotify justified these increases by stating, “So that we can continue to invest in and innovate on our product features and bring users the best experience, we occasionally update our prices.”

The streaming giant is far from alone in this inflationary trend. Major competitors like Netflix, Hulu and Disney Plus have also raised their prices recently, leading many to question the future affordability of streaming services.

Likewise, for many artists, Spotify’s payment model remains a contentious issue. The platform pays royalties based on an artist’s share of overall streams, amounting to roughly $0.003 to $0.005 per play, not enough for the overwhelming majority of artists to sustain a living wage.

Ironically, the company’s announcement comes at a controversial time. Just days ago, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek faced backlash for a post on X claiming that the cost of creating content was “close to zero,” a statement widely lambasted by musicians who argued that producing quality music is far from free. Ek eventually backpedaled but is still facing a great deal of criticism.