Amapiano lyrics often sound like the wrong message

In a country where we're fighting the objectification of women, skyrocketing rape cases and drug abuse issues, it seems highly problematic and hypocritical that we don't scrutinise in great detail what we expose our children to, the writer says.
In a country where we're fighting the objectification of women, skyrocketing rape cases and drug abuse issues, it seems highly problematic and hypocritical that we don't scrutinise in great detail what we expose our children to, the writer says.
Image: lightfieldstudios \ 123rf

If toddlers aren't singing your song how can you call it a hit? This is the attitude most South Africans have when it comes to popular music.

However, it becomes something else when the hit song has dubious lyrics and leaves even the artist scrambling for a coherent explanation of what it is exactly that they're trying to convey.

The amapiano genre has taken the SA music scene by storm, with artists delivering hits that inspire dance moves like the pouncing cat and electrifying the nation.

However, the lyrics that come with these fire beats leave much to be desired.

In one of the songs dominating airplay, Labantwana Amauber, the artist claims the song is an anti-drug song, warning about the dangers of taking narcotics.

The message however doesn't seem to have come through that way to the fans of the song, every time the song plays you see adults and teens alike, mimicking the act of chopping and snorting drugs as they enjoy the sounds.

The confusion, nevertheless, has not stopped the song from being on radio high rotation.

This is not the only amapiano song that leaves the listener slightly perplexed and uncomfortable. Another hit song, Ngwaneso Ngwaneso, basically speaks in an explicit manner about the sexual act, Sizoku' ny&$# wena, sizoku ^&%&%@#$&* ka nyoko.

In a country where we're fighting the objectification of women, skyrocketing rape cases and drug abuse issues, it seems highly problematic and hypocritical that we don't scrutinise in great detail what we expose our children to.

Don't get me wrong; as a country we're not new to sexually suggestive lyrics, there were many homes where listening, dancing or singing along to songs like Hlaba Lingene by Mshoza and Mnike by Arthur Mafokate was strictly forbidden.

The adults gave adult connotations to the lyrics though the artists explained themselves, but the genius in this was that the lyrics were cheekily ambiguous and left it up to you to interpret.

The problem with the amapiano genre is that it doesn't leave much to be interpreted.

And of course, at home parents can filter what their children listen to but it's hard to avoid amapiano when your neighbour, the petrol station near you, the taxi your child rides in, the radio station you listen to, is blasting the latest dance hit.

So who are we left with to petition? The artists who are making a hit to further their career?

The broadcast station that should be filtering the music that it plays? Or is amapiano a reflection of the society we are and there is no escaping it?

*Dlomo is Sowetan Online content producer

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