2019 has seen amaPiano emerge from the underground and into the mainstream, with amaPiano front runner Kabza De Small and all-round hitmaker DJ Maphorisa leading the charge. The Return of the Scorpion Kings sees the duo reunite for their third collaboration of the year, following on from their debut Scorpion Kings and Piano Hub.
As with previous releases, The Return of the Scorpion Kings is packed with features by some of the country’s biggest names including Busiswa, Kamazu, Thandiswa Mazwai, Mas Musiq, Samthing Soweto & Mi Casa, and even features a posthumous collaboration with Bra Hugh Masekela.
Predominantly vocal, aside from the two closing tracks featuring Hugh Masekela and Mas Musiq, The Return of the Scorpion Kings in contrast to Scorpion Kings is far less dancefloor-oriented, with a more laidback, smooth sound and clean productions.
The opening “Abuyile Amakhosi”, featuring the powerful vocals of Thandiswa Mazwai and Busiswa, sets the tone of the release, evoking memories of summer Sunday afternoons. “Qoqoqo” featuring Mlindo the Vocalist is a contender for the earworm of the release, with the hook embedding itself in one’s subconscious and emerging at the strangest of times. In contrast to the majority of the release, tracks such as “Lorch” featuring Semi Tee, Miano and Kammu Dee, as well as “Sandton” featuring Focalistic, Kamo Mphela and Bontle Smith have a slightly rawer edge.
While DJ Maphorisa’s collaboration with Kabza De Small does have its critics, with some claiming that he is riding Kabza’s wave, there is no doubting the impact both producers have had on local music in 2019 as can be seen with Kabza De Small and DJ Maphorisa reaching the number one and two spots on Spotify’s top streamed SA artists in South Africa and the work they’ve done on projects such as Mi Casa’s Summer Time, Samthing Soweto’s Isphithiphithi and Mas Musiq’s Mambisa album among others.
From the strong features to the clean production and the fact that both are powerhouse producers, there is no doubting their success and that of their releases.
Listen to the full album here.